Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola

Soup sounds simple, but it is deceptively so. For me, it’s important that the soup have structure and depth of flavor- that it’s not just a liquified puree and/or a bunch of swollen vegetables and meat. The way each spoonful feels texturally in your mouth and the flavors that are briefly there as it passes on your tongue and lingers afterward need to combine to be memorable.

I think this soup meets those above criteria I have, and is worth the time to create rather than from the store pre-made in a container. I happened to make homemade mascarpone, but you can certainly just purchase it to save some of the prep work.

Ingredients (for 6 people):

  • 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups of stock- I used vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup of diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup of diced celery
  • 1/4 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of an ale or you can also use hard cider. I used Sam Adams Dunkelweizen
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 2 pounds of peeled, seeded, chopped butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup of Mascarpone cheese, or make your own using 2 cups of cream and 1/8 teaspoon of tartaric acid as I did. This will yield 2 cups of Mascarpone.
  • 1/2 cup of Cambozola
  • 1 cup of cream – you can also use sour cream or some of the yield of the homemade Mascarpone (I did the latter)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of whole almonds- they should be raw, not roasted
  • To Taste: salt, and pepper

Directions:

  1. If you are making homemade mascarpone, start with this step first the night before. Heat the 2 cups of cream in a saucepan to 180 degrees F over medium high heat, stirring and making sure it does not scorch. As soon it reaches 180 degrees F, remove from heat immediately and stir in the tartaric acid. You can find tartaric acid in the baking section of your grocery store, or you can go to a home brew or home wine store.
    Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes, and then transfer to a glass or plastic container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours so it can thicken. You can set a sieve over a bowl and line it with cheesecloth and pour in the mascarpone and let drain for an additional 10 hours in the refrigerator… This yields 2 cups of mascarpone cheese.
    making mascarpone recipe homemade making making homemade mascarpone
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, while in a large pot that is at least 2.5 quarts, you heat up the stock. In the saucepan, add in the mirepoix – aka the onion, celery, and carrots- and sweat them until they are soft
    mirepoix mirepoix
  3. Meanwhile, watch your pot with stock. Once the stock is boiling, turn down the heat to low and add the beer, cinnamon, and coriander and let it simmer to develop the flavor for about 5 minutes. Then add in the mirepoix and the squash and continue to cook, uncovered, for the next 25-30 minutes. The squash should start to get mushy and fall apart and incorporate into the liquid.
    For my ale, I chose to use Samuel Adams Dunkelweizen, which was one of the beers offered on one of their seasonal variety packs. I picked the Dunkelweizen because it is a dark wheat beer brewed with Bavarian yeast that has flavors and aromas of clove and nutmeg with a tiniest hint of citrus and finished with malted wheat, so sounded like it would be a good mix with the rest of the vegetables and seasonings.
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola
  4. Remove the pot from heat and remove the cinnamon stick and let the soup cool until it is warm. You don’t want it to be hot because you are about to puree everything!
  5. In the meantime, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil and then add the almonds.
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola
  6. Cook and stir the almond/sugar water mixture until the liquid evaporates and leaves a syrup-like coating on the almonds. Pour the almonds onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and flatten to help the almonds cool. Cool for about 15 minutes- and it is totally ok to sneak a few warm nuts as a snack! This is more than you will need to garnish the soup, but it will probably be gone in just a day or so (a handful at a time- because you can’t just have a couple), so don’t hesitate to make this amount.
    I know right, super easy! This will smell so good too. I always want to get these whenever I smell those little carts selling paper cones of candied nuts and you can eat them warm if you’d like. Or, you can add them like I did to soup. or to salad, or mix it with pretzels and peanut butter chips or chex etc. for a snack mix. I used almonds, but you can use any nut you’d like. You can also add vanilla or chili/cayenne/hot sauce for additional seasonings instead of cinnamon.
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola
  7. Once the soup so far is cool enough, mix in a blender on high in batches to puree the soft vegetables until smooth.
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola
  8. Take out the mascarpone and the cambozola and let it warm to room temperature.  You will then mix the 1/2 cup of the mascarpone with 1/2 cup of the cambozola to make a cheese mixture
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola
  9. Warm the soup at low heat, stirring 1 cup of the mascarpone, until it is at a temperature to serve (definitely do not get to boiling). You can also just use another substitute to make the soup creamier in texture and taste, such as light sour cream or tofutti- I didn’t have another use for the rest of the mascarpone and decided to use it here but the soup definitely missed the cream. Instead, use the rest of the mascarpone to make tiramisu or with fruit or in other desserts, try to use it in a few days while it is fresh and has that subtle sweetness.
  10. When serving, sprinkle the candied almonds on top of the soup and garnish with the cheese mixture. How pretty and fancy!
    Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola

Making the candied almonds makes your place smell so festive with the cinnamon scent! The optional step of making homemade mascarpone is extra credit but also pays off as  you will taste how fresh and subtle the sweetness can be, and the garnish of the mascarpone cambozola cheese allows you to add just a touch of creaminess and cambozola is a nice mix of the richness combining the butteryness of a brie type cheese but with a bit of tangy punch akin to blue cheese. Using the squash makes this soup so seasonal too, and the ale gives you the ability to give this a depth of flavor beyond just the average butternut squash soup.

I started to get a cold (sore throat, sniffles, cough) a little bit after making this soup and having this for lunch was so comforting. Whether you are feeling sick or not, it’s a nourishing remedy for the dark cold days this time of year and a perfect holiday soup that is wonderful for all winter season.

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Comments

  1. Mark Albert says:

    I finally tried this recipe yesterday. A recipe for a butternut squash curry soup had been my long time favorite. This is a wonderful new variation of butternut squash soup for me. I didn’t know a soup could be all that, the combination of textures (crunchy and pureed) and flavors (blue cheese, candied almonds and vegetables), all matched well together. Wow! This surely deserves a place in my permanent recipe library.

    • Thanks for trying it- I too like the complexity of this soup, and think it will be making a reappearance now and then during the winter months. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I am not a big beer drinker, but I think making this with alcoholic cider sounds great. I have come to believe that every dish should have a crunchy aspect, no matter how small. So I like the addition of nuts here.

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  3. […] a soup, I might suggest this rich Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola, or go with a Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup. I like both these soups because of both the flavor […]

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