Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This savory soup is silky smooth, and luxuriously thick, like a cream soup. I served this soup before our main Thanksgiving diner this year, as the turkey rested, and thought it was a nice addition to the meal. Even Mike approve, and he’s not typically a fan of soup.

Creme Fresh and Nutmeg

The soup can be made a day or two in advance, reheated and quickly finished the day of serving. The flavors blend nicely, and according to Thomas Keller, the squash becomes sweeter as it rests.

Butternut Squash Soup

 

Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted slightly from Bouchon
Serves 6
 
All vegetables should be thinly sliced to 1/8-inch thickness. If you don’t feel like making your own Vegetable Stock, this looks like a good alternative – if that’s not available, chicken stock may be a better substitute. I think most pre-made vegetable stocks are just horrible.
 
Soup can also be finished with fried sage leaves. 
 
For the Soup
1,  3-to-3 1/2 pound butternut squash 
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 sage sprigs
1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots 
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
6 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons honey
6 cups Vegetable Stock 
Bouquet Garni (below)
 
To complete
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup crème fraîche 
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon minced chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil 
 

For the soup, pre-heat oven to 350-degrees. Line a small baking sheet or dish with aluminum foil.

Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the round bottom bulb in half, scoop out and then discard the seeds. Brush each half inside and out with 1 1/2 teaspoons of canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper, then tuck a sprigs of sage into each cavity. Place cut-side-down on baking sheet and roast for about an hour, or until completely tender.

Remove squash from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out and reserve flesh; discard sage.

While squash bakes, use paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the neck end of the butternut squash, revealing the bright orange flesh.  Cut into a 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups).

Put remaining tablespoon of canola oil into the bottom of a stock-pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, carrots, shallots, and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes to soften vegetables. Add diced raw squash, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, reducing heat to prevent squash and garlic from coloring. Stir in honey and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock and bouquet garni, bring to simmer, and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Add roasted squash and simmer gently for 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from heat and discard bouquet garni.

Transfer soup to blender, in batches and puree. Strain soup through a fine strainer into a bowl or other container. Taste soup and adjust seasonings. Let cool, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To complete the soup, place the crème fraîche in a chilled small metal bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk with a small whisk until crème fraîche holds shape. Cover and refrigerate.

Reheat the soup, slowly adding in additional vegetable stock if the soup is too thick.

Heat small skillet over high heat. Add butter and swirl skillet to evenly browed, and hazelnut color. Add butter to soup.

Ladle soup into 6 serving bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraîche, a few grinds of pepper, chives, and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Bouquet Garni

2 or 3 pieces dark green outer leek leaves (6 to 7-inches long)
8 thyme sprigs
2 Italian parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns 
 

To make bouquet garni, lay out one leek green. Place the herbs and peppercorns on top and wrap in the remaining leaf or leaves to form a circular bundle; tie securely with kitchen twin in at least three spots.

Alternately, you can make a sachet with a 7-inch square of cheesecloth, placing the thyme, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns in the center; tie into a bundle with kitchen twine.


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