While unloading my CSA box, I spoke with another member about what she was making with all of the butternut squash we were receiving in our share. She said that there was no better way to use it than this soup! It was a great recommendation.
This recipe was adapted from Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon,” via The New York Times, contributed by Amanda Hesser. Hesser described it as “astonishingly flavorful and complex.” It was creamy, silky, and incredibly delicious. I made it for my mom on her birthday! 🙂 It would also be wonderful as part of a holiday meal.
I loved that it incorporated leeks, shallots, and yellow onions- and brown butter, of course. The toppings also gave it a lovely presentation.
Yield: Serves 6
- 1 3-to-3½-pound butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 sprigs sage
- 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (about 2 leeks)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots (about 2 carrots)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, more if needed
- Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves or cheesecloth
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1½ teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).
- Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).
- Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and thinly slice into half moons. Soak in a bowl of water. Using a slotted spoon, lift from the top before using.
- Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes.
- Add the diced squash, garlic, 11/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring.
- Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
- Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
- Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni.
- Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and purée. Alternatively, use an immersion blender in the pot.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Place the crème fraîche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the crème fraîche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.
- Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.
- Heat a medium skillet or butter warmer medium-over high heat. When it is very hot, add the butter and rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle in the bottom. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup — keep a safe distance, it may sputter — then stir.
- Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche. Grind some black pepper over the top and sprinkle on the chives. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.