A Sarcastic Appetite

Butternut Squash Soup
November 21, 2010, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

As usual, I’m late to the party. November’s almost out the door and I only just managed to purchase my first butternut squash of the season today. It was lying forlornly among the acorn squash, a rather pitiful specimen that will nevertheless be put to a delicious end: soup.

This delicate soup comes courtesy of Michael Psilakis, he of various Greek restaurants in New York and now Miami, from How to Roast a Lamb. The recipe is classic and simple: the aforementioned squash, an onion, some thyme, heavy cream, and a bit of white wine come together in what Psilakis describes as a “juicy” soup. He’s right. While it won’t steal the show – I think the John Dory and Crab-Yogurt-Orzo salad it’s paired with would take care of that – it is a light and lovely soup.

The reason I love this particular recipe? It doesn’t require peeling the squash (annoying) or cubing it (tedious). Roast the halved squash with some thyme and then scoop the flesh out and let it do its thing in the soup pot. Use this as your blank slate and add headier spices and flavors if you want. (I just added more nutmeg and some ginger.) Or leave it be, and just top with some chopped chives and a hefty dollop of crème fraiche, which will add a nice creaminess. Then again, what isn’t improved by crème fraiche?

Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted from How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis. Serves 4.

1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded, but unpeeled

about 3 tbsp. nice olive oil

8 sprigs thyme

lots of salt and pepper

1/2 an onion, chopped

1 c. dry white wine

2 1/2 c. chicken stock

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

a pinch of ground cloves

1 tbsp. honey

crème fraiche and chives, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375º. Brush olive oil onto the cut sides of the squash. Season with lots of salt and pepper, then stuff the cavities with the thyme. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for about an hour, until very tender. Discard the thyme, then scoop the flesh out and set aside.

In a stockpot, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and saute until tender and wilted, about ten minutes. Deglaze with the wine and allow it to evaporate completely – about 15-20 minutes or so. Stir in the pulp, the chicken stock, cream, spices, and honey. Bring it to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, then use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche and chopped chives.

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