Sunday, November 18, 2012


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This is another one of those go-to soup recipes that I love to revisit in the fall and winter months.  I've been making Tom Keller's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup since I purchased his Bouchon cookbook in 2004   Although I've seen many bloggers include this recipe on their sites, I also wanted to add it as a follow-up to my turkey and stuffing recipes to complete the Thanksgiving menu. 

To me, the most difficult part is cutting the neck off from the bulb of the squash.  The rest is easy. 
And over the years, I made some slight adjustments.  For example, I sometimes use sour cream in lieu of creme fraiche.  Also, I use more sage for roasting the squash.  Finally, I don't finish the soup with brown butter or chives, but I do add the crisped sage leaves as a garnish.

1 3-to-3 1/2-pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs sage
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
6 cups vegetable stock, preferably home-made
Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley,
2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a
packet made of 2 green leek leaves
1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
Freshly grated nutmeg
6 sage leaves and canola oil (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 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 1 1/2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck sprigs 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).

Pre-Oven Squash With Fresh Sage
Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted Butternut Squash
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, 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 (there should be about 4 cups).
Prep for the "Un Roasted" Squash
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, dash of 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.
Squash Simmering
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 puree.
Puree Soup
 Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Pureed Soup
Place the creme fraiche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the creme fraiche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.

Heat 1/8 inch of canola oil in a small skillet.  When oil is very hot, add the sage leaves and cook turning the leaves to crisp them on both sides.  Drain the sage on paper towels.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of the nutmeg sour cream/creme fraiche and sage leaves. Serves 4.

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