Saturday, December 1, 2012

Crema de Zapallo - Peruvian Squash or Pumpkin Soup

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is another of my "-ish" dishes. Crema de Zapallo is a soup that is served throughout Peru, and while it is called a pumpkin soup, it is actually made from a large squash that bears no resemblance to its American cousins. Its flesh is creamy when cooked and wonderfully mild. Therein lies the problem. I had this soup many times when we were in Peru, but because it is so mild, each cook seasoned it differently and none of the versions I had were alike. I encountered the same problem when I searched for recipes once I was home. There appears to be no standard way to make this soup, so I decided to make a version of my own. Zapallo are not sold in this area, so I chose to use butternut squash in its stead. It is easier to work with than some of the other hard shelled varieties and the fact that I could buy it already cubed spoke volumes to me. While most versions of the soup are made with condensed milk, I wanted the special richness that cream can provide to simple soups like this, so cream made it to the final cut. The use of red onion, by the way, is not an oversight on my part. Peruvian cooks prefer their mildness and do not use white or yellow onions in their cooking. I deliberately kept spicing to a minimum because I wanted the flavor of butternut squash to dominate the soup. If you are looking for a mildly flavored creamed soup to serve as a first course for a special meal, I think you will find this recipe helpful. The soup is easy to make and comes together quickly. You'll want to adjust salt to your personal taste and if the soup becomes too thick don't hesitate to add more stock. Here's my version of Crema de Zapallo.

Crema de Zapallo - Peruvian Squash Soup
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

3 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoons aji chile powder or Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt + salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds cubed butternut or acorn squash
1 cup heavy cream (light cream or whole milk can be substituted)
Optional garnish:
Sour cream or chives or bacon or croutons


1) Melt butter in large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened but not yet browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chile powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer. Add squash and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered, for 25 minutes or until squash is tender.
2) Puree mixture using an immersion blender, or, working in batches, puree mixture in jar of an electric blender until smooth. Return mixture to pan if necessary.
3) Stir cream into pureed mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until heated through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Enchiladas con Huevos

Two Years Ago Today: Southwestern Skillet Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

Three Years Ago Today: Old-World Rye Bread


Alessandra said...

I learned what zapallo means :-). Good to know, I am planning to go to Peru next year, I need to learn more Spanish!

This sounds good, I love to make different variations on pumpkin soup. I wonder if I could use coconut cream here too!

Ciao and happy weekend


Nicole Jeannette said...

This looks fabulous!

Diane said...

This sounds good but I am so hooked on my South African Butternut Soup recipe I don't think I will change. Have a great weekend and take care Diane

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

What a beautiful soup! I can almost taste it!!! I love that it is called Pumpkin soup and they do not use what we would know to be a pumpkin.
This soup is a must try! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

this looks like lunch to me! Yum! Its one of my favorite soups, I sprinkle croutons and add a dollop of plain yogurt to mine , yummo!

Vicki Bensinger said...

I love butternut squash soup and make it often this time of year. Yours looks picture perfect, and velvety.

Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs said...

Oooo I'm always looking for a good squash soup recipe and this one sounds perfect. Thanks!

France@beyondthepeel said...

This looks delicious. I love the flavors combination.

Southerncook said...

I have two butternut squash that I need to cook and after seeing this recipe I think I will prepare your soup recipe. It sounds delicious. When my DH was in Argentina he was served what they called Butternut Squash Soup and did not care for it. I am on a quest to make him like it and I think your recipe will fit the bill. Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Ginny Hartzler said...

It looks so creamy and warm and beautiful! Gosh I have missed your recipes and beautiful food!

Joanne said...

I love the spice in this soup! Sounds delicious!

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