Y'all, Don't Worry Darling starring one of my favorite actors, Florence Pugh, is finally in theaters! Maybe you've heard of the film because of all its behind-the-scenes drama, and I'm thankful for that — all the buzz was reason to propose to my boss that I try, and write up, recipes Florence demo'd through her Instagram stories earlier in the pandemic. So far, I've braved Marmite toast, found a new go-to breakfast, and nailed a tasty tzatziki dip. Now, I'm taking it to the next level.
In this installment of "Cooking with Me, You, and Florence Pugh," we're gonna make Florence's homemade butternut squash soup. This is one of the first recipes she showed on her Instagram at the beginning of the pandemic. If you're like me and haven't worked with butternut squash before, it's on par with a pumpkin in terms of taste, though it's oblong instead of round. So, this felt like the perfect dish to try out since summer is officially over, and we're now in fall season!
I'm gonna be honest with y'all. Since I kind of hate cooking (I don't do effort), this is one of the most involved recipes I've ever subjected myself to. It took hours. And if I can do it, you likely can, too. In my opinion, it's worth it.
To make this autumn-appropriate soup, you'll need: Two butternut squashes, garlic, red potatoes, pork chorizo, an onion, serrano (or any chili) pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, dried rosemary, sheet pans, a blender, patience, and a good soundtrack to keep you company — Florence likes Charlotte Lawrence. I already had the seasonings, so I paid about $21. You'll be able to get about eight servings from this. Don't eat meat or hate heat? Skip the chorizo and/or pepper!
Alright, let's get to making the soup! And just a heads up, this soup is not something you're going to be making if you're pressed for time.
STEP #1: After washing your pair of butternut squashes, slice off the tops and bottoms of both — we only stan vers squash in this household.
STEP #2: Take your circumcised squash, stand them up, and give them another cut right down the middle. It doesn't have to be precisely in half, but don't f*ck it up too much like I did — it'll make the following step a bit tough if you're not able to clearly get to the seeds.
I quickly learned the squashes I picked out were a bit tough to cut, so I don't think they were quite ready yet. I believe in starting before you're ready, though. And fortunately, my dad stepped in with a butcher knife and a rubber hammer.
As you can see, my dad helped me get an AMSR-worthy cut.
STEP #3: Scoop out the seeds of the butternut squash with a spoon. My mom helped me out with this step since I move slow. You can definitely cook this dish solo, though an extra pair of hands or two will make things a lot more easy and fun.
You'll end up with a bunch of seeds. You can plant them and grow your own butternut squash, or feed them to your chickens if you have any. In her video, Florence kept bringing up chickens I can only assume she owns. Or, at least she has access to them. I gave the seeds to my dad since my parents have a backyard, though if I was back in Los Angeles, I would've tossed them out; I'm a notorious plant killer.
STEP #4: Place your squash flesh-side down on a cutting mat and cut them into inch-thick slices. Channel your inner butcher in this step, because the squashes are thick enough that you'll want to put your weight behind the knife. As always, be careful when cutting anything. I was at my wit's end by the time of this photo, and was being a tad careless.
STEP #5: Place your butternut squash slices in a large sheet pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Move the slices around with your hand to coat the undersides in oil, too. Florence had to use two large sheet pans, and I used three regular-sized baking dishes since I only had those. Get creative!
STEP #6: Get your garlic and break off a few cloves. Cut the cloves in half, keeping the skin on. I was a bit skeptical of this, though Florence said she picked up this habit of leaving the skin when roasting garlic from watching British chef Jamie Oliver. Halve however many cloves of garlic you want, and throw them in your pans with the squash! Florence added in quite a bit of half-cloves, and my mom was on board with that — "More garlic only adds more flavor," my mom said.
STEP #7: Salt and pepper your butternut squash. You can see the garlic half-cloves I scattered in the pan. I've never roasted garlic before, so I was really excited to try this out. Even though I'm Team Edward, I absolutely love garlic. Bite me.
STEP #8: Place your pans of butternut squash in a preheated oven at 420°F for about 20 minutes. You'll likely have to keep them in longer, so just keep an eye on them. They'll be ready once they're soft enough to be pierced with a knife.
STEP #9: While your butternut squash is in the oven, cut your red potatoes into squares. It doesn't have to be exact. This isn't a cooking show. It's just you, me, and Florence Pugh. And my parents.
STEP #10: Slice your chorizo. Florence didn't use much, and she went with a firm, Spanish-style chorizo. I'm literally in a border town at the bottom of South Texas and could only find Mexican-style chorizo, which more resembles uncooked, ground sausage, and it worked just fine. If you don't eat meat, you can easily leave this ingredient out (or try a vegan chorizo/sausage).
STEP #11: Drizzle some oil in a pan over medium heat and throw in your potatoes and chorizo.
STEP #12: Chop half an onion as the chorizo and potatoes are cooking, and throw it into the pan as well. This is a good time to check on your butternut squash — if it's ready, take the pans out and let them cool down as the potatoes, chorizo, and onions continue to cook. Heads up, your kitchen is about to smell soooo good.
Once the pan of your potatoes, chorizo, and onions has cooked, set it aside. We'll return to it once we've gotten our butternut squash soup in the pot. Stay with me, please.
STEP #13: Take your butternut squash out of the oven! You know it's done once it's a golden and roasted color and is completely soft. After letting the slices cool down, separate it from the skin. You can use a spoon, but you'll probably be better off using a knife. You want to get as close to the skin as you can to use as much squash as possible.
Butternut break! This recipe was taking way too long for an amateur cook like me, so I saved a slice to snack on to keep me motivated. And I'm so glad I did. It tasted like a warm and juicy sweet potato.
STEP #14: Drop your cooled-down skin-free butternut squash slices into a blender. If you're using a hand blender like Florence, throw the skinned slices directly into a big pot. In both cases, you'll need to add vegetable stock to make it easier to blend. These squash are tough! Rumor has it that they went through eighth grade twice. And if your squash slices are still rather warm, there needs to be some ventilation — one way I'd recommend is removing the center cap from the blender lid, and placing a kitchen towel over the top before pressing start.
There were so many squash slices involved, so I blended them in batches because there wasn't enough space in my parents' large blender. If I was back in Los Angeles with my smaller blender, I'd probably give the slices a good mash with a fork in the blender before turning it on so it doesn't have to work so hard. If it's tough to blend, add in more vegetable stock!
As soon as I lifted the lid off the blender, my mother and I — the queens of the household — were struck with a scent that exuded pumpkins, fall, and Taylor Swift's pandemic albums. I was very into it. And my mom had to have a taste. She liked it.
STEP #15: Next, if you used a blender like me, transfer the blended butternut squash and vegetable stock into a pot. You may have to do this in batches if you're working with a smaller blender. While it's plopping into the pot, appreciate the thickness of that butternut squash blend. That's the result of your hard work and effort.
STEP #16: You'll also want to add more vegetable stock to the butternut squash blend if you were also blending it out of the pot. Otherwise, the soup will be really thick, which is a choice! Just not the one for me.
STEP #17: Somehow, we're not done yet. So, finely chop a serrano (or any chili) pepper next. This is going to give the soup some heat. "A hot soup is always better when it gives you a little bit of sniffles," Florence said. Feel free to skip the peppers if you don't agree. And heads up, serrano peppers are HOT — please wear gloves when working with these, or at least take caution to not touch your eyes or really anywhere on your face when handling these.
STEP #18: Throw in your peppers (if you're using them) and your roasted garlic, after taking it out of the skin, into the pot. Turn on the heat, and start stirring! We're nearing the end.
STEP #19: Generously salt your butternut squash soup. It's a naturally sweet fruit (it's technically not a vegetable, just accept it), so you'll want to counterbalance that with sodium. I'd recommend getting a tasting spoon here and trying it until it's less sweet and leaning more toward savory. Add pepper!
STEP #20: Throw in Italian seasoning. No measurement here, just keep going until your ancestors break through the spirit world and implore you to stop. Or, you know, season to taste.
STEP #21: As your soup continues to heat up, put your potatoes-chorizo-onion pan back on some heat and throw in some chopped garlic to wake it back up.
Check on your soup, and give it a taste to see if you're happy with it. I was very pleased with mine!
STEP #22: And finally, scoop some butternut squash soup into a bowl, top it with a spoonful of the chorizo-potato-onion mix, and sprinkle dried rosemary over it if you'd like. Then — I can't believe I'm actually typing this — you're done! It took us a while, but we made Florence Pugh's butternut squash soup from scratch!
Here's my final product against Florence Pugh's. Y'all, please allow me to toot my own horn after the journey I went through to get this soup finished — my butternut squash soup, with the potato and chorizo topping, looks scrumptious.
My parents and I put a lot of hard work into this soup, and I was so excited to try it. As soon as I thrust a spoonful into my mouth, I immediately enjoyed the crumbly mouthfeel of the chorizo against the soft potatoes and thick butternut squash. The meatiness of the chorizo added a welcome savory flavor to the dish, which was followed by a sort-of-subtle sweetness from the butternut squash. I could taste a kick of the roasted garlic, and if it was just me, I would have added even more pepper for more heat to warm my body with.
The more I sat with my butternut squash soup, my fondness for it grew. Florence's method is absolutely meticulous — in total, it took me about four hours with all the prep and cook time (I'm a slow cook alright?!) to make the dish happen. But all that effort showed up in the soup — everything, from the roasted garlic to the dried rosemary, showed up to the flavor party that was happening in my mouth. I was transported to sipping on this fairly light soup while cuddled in a blanket, with Taylor Swift's upcoming album as ambiance. It's fall, hun.
If you're going to try out this soup, I recommend preparing the butternut squash up until just before you'd put it in the blender (so Step #13 of removing the slices from the skin) the night before you're going to serve it, or at least earlier in the day. Then store it in the fridge, and continue later so you don't power through it all at once. I actually did that, hence my outfit change; we'd started cooking the dish at 7:30 p.m. — way too late for a dish that requires this much work.
I can't stress enough how much I loathe putting in effort in the kitchen, so I'm very proud of myself for powering through this 22-step (sheesh!) soup recipe. I learned how to cook a warm, fall-worthy soup, explored cooking with butternut squash, and mastered new roasting methods which I'll continue in my cooking future. My kitchen confidence is growing, and I owe a lot of that to Oscar-nominated actor Florence Pugh.
And if you'd like to check out Florence making the butternut squash soup and witness her infectious energy for yourself, I got you — you can watch it right here:
What do you think of Florence's homemade butternut squash soup? If you tried it yourself, how long did it take you to make? What other Miss Flo recipes do you like, or which of her dishes that I've already recreated is your personal favorite? Let me know in the comments.
And watch Don't Worry Darling in theaters if you can! Let me know your thoughts if you do (just give a warning if there are any spoilers in your comment).