Spiced Butternut Squash Soup


Aged goat cheese is a key ingredient in this creamy soup from the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Photo: © Kathrin Koschitzki
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
6 to 8 servings

Paula Wolfert uses Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove, but goat Gouda also works well. The recipe for the spice blend makes more than you need, but any extra is excellent tossed with roasted vegetables.


La Kama Spice Blend

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground cubeb pepper (optional)

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 pounds butternut, kabocha, or calabaza squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 4 cups water

  • ½ cup crème fraîche or heavy cream

  • ¼ pound aged goat cheese, shredded, divided

  • 1 teaspoon harissa, plus more for serving

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the spice blend ingredients. Sift through a fine sieve and store in an airtight container.

  2. In a large, heavy pot, toss the onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover with a round of parchment paper and the lid, and cook for 20 minutes.

  3. Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend, and the water to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, 20 minutes. Let cool.

  4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender; add the crème fraîche, three-fourths of the cheese, and 1 teaspoon of harissa to the last batch. Return all of the soup to the pot and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the soup, passing the remaining cheese and more harissa at the table.

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