Spiced ambercup squash soup with maple syrup

If you haven't tried ambercup squash before, this is a great introduction.

Mairlyn Smith Homegrown cookbook

It's been a long time coming, but Mairlyn Smith's new cookbook, Homegrown, is almost on the shelves. We've pulled some strings and got a sneak peek at the book that focuses on purely Canadian ingredients and seasonality, a topic that is becoming more and more important. With Smith's great sense of humour and ability to make pretty much anything approachable, and a collection of recipes from Canadian professional home economists, she broaches this subject with ease.

This deep orange coloured soup has the best of both flavour-note worlds; it’s a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet. It was a huge hit the day we tested it, and the flavours are well worth the work it takes to hack open the squash.

If you can't find ambercup squash, you can use buttercup squash instead.

“I was never a fan of squash but thanks to my Grandmother’s encouragement, I finally relented and began to grow a few varieties. I found that I actually liked the darker, denser and sweeter heritage-type squashes: enter turban, buttercup and ambercup. Then several years ago, I tried a cup of butternut squash soup at a local restaurant and thought it was delicious. I left thinking I could create something even better. After several experiments using ambercup squash, this soup was created, a fusion of spices and homegrown produce that has become a family favourite.” —Jennifer Goodwin, PHEc.

Spiced ambercup squash soup with maple syrup

1 3-lb ambercup squash
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth (no salt added variety)
1 Empire apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tbsp amber or dark pure maple syrup
2 cups skim milk
1 dash green Tabasco sauce
chives, to garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F. With a large sturdy knife, cut the squash in half and remove seeds and pulp. Peel and dice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks; place into a large roasting pan.

Drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 mL) oil and toss to coat. Roast for 45 minutes or until the squash is soft and beginning to brown slightly. Toss occasionally throughout the roasting process to prevent burning. When the squash is cooked, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rest of the oil plus the onion and garlic, sauteing until soft and slightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add the squash.

Place the empty roasting pan on a separate element over medium heat and pour in broth. Once the liquid begins to boil, reduce to simmer, scrapping up any bits for added flavour. Pour into the large saucepan. 

Add apple, ginger, curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Return to heat and bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until the apple is soft, about 15 minutes.

Add maple syrup, milk and Tabasco and stir in well. Remove from heat. Using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup OR transfer to a blender or food processor and puree in smaller batches and return soup to saucepan. Garnish with whole chives if desired. See picture.

Reheat if necessary; serve or store in the fridge for up to two days. Freeze any leftovers up to three months.


This soup may be quite thick depending on the type and age of the squash. Add more broth water or milk until you reach desired thickness.

Nutrition information

Per serving: 176 Calories, 5.7 g Total Fat, 0.5 g Saturated Fat, 0 g Trans Fat, 202 mg Sodium, 31 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fibre, 13 g Sugars, 1.5 g Added Sugars, 4.3 g Protein

8 servings