Thanksgiving Recipe: Van Gogh Soup

Posted by / Friday, November 16th, 2012

Food Desk NoteWelcome to our Thanksgiving reader recipe series. Our team of NoVA food enthusiasts submitted their favorite holiday recipes that we’ll feature throughout the month. Enjoy these dishes perfect for gatherings.

Photo Courtesy of Julie Sande

Van Gogh Soup
Submitted by Julie Sande

After a kindergarten field trip to the National Gallery of Art, my daughter, inspired by van Gogh’s sunflowers, renamed my Acorn Squash Soup recipe “Van Gogh Soup.” Its vivid sunflower yellow color is an ideal antidote to November’s grey days.
The soup’s ingredients are common autumn produce, kitchen staples and spices. When combined these basic items yield a lush, deeply satisfying soup full of seasonal flavors. Served with a green salad and a crusty loaf of bread, van Gogh soup is one of my family’s favorite autumn entrees. It is also an easy and elegant start to a holiday meal.


Olive oil
3 acorn squashes*
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup sherry
1 teaspoon salt
½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Dash of ground allspice
Dash of ground red pepper
1 cup half and half
Thyme sprigs for garnish, if desired


Cut each squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds.  Place squash halves cut side down in a lightly oiled shallow pan, such as a 9 x 13 Pyrex cake pan.  Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.  Scoop out and reserve pulp; discard shells.  Or use approximately 3 cups of unseasoned roasted acorn squash pulp.  I often roast squash when it is in season and freeze the pulp in 3 squash portions to save prep time.

Cook the carrot and onion in just enough boiling water to cover, 12 or 15 minutes or until very tender. Do not drain. When cool enough to handle safely, combine half of carrot mixture (including half of the remaining cooking liquid), half of the reserved squash pulp and half cup of chicken broth in a container of an electric blender (a high power blender such as a Vita Mix works best). Process until very smooth.  Repeat procedure with remaining carrot mixture, cooking liquid, pulp and chicken broth; set aside.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven or stockpot over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add pureed mixture, remaining 2 ½ cups chicken broth, sherry, and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, but watch so mixture does not scorch.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Stir in half and half. Cook just until thoroughly heated. (Do not boil).

Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with Thyme sprigs if desired.

An avid self- taught cook, Julie has been building her skills since she could see over the kitchen counter.

Reader Recipes have not been tested by Northern Virginia Magazine. For recipe questions, or if you would like to submit recipes for a future series, please email The Food Desk


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