Cook: Butternut Squash Soup

Apparently it's been almost a month since my last post.  This year is going by so quickly!  So, what has 2FW been up to in the last 3.5 weeks?  Well, first I was sick for about 5 days, which was no fun.  I couldn't get out of bed, let alone get my bum into the kitchen to whip up something tasty.  Then, we were searching for the perfect dog to add to our family.  We adopted Salty on 10/30 - she's a super-sweet, 3-year-old poodle/terrier mix.  After a crazy few weeks, I finally had a chance to do some much-needed cooking and baking.

This recipe started from a Cook's Illustrated recipe (my favorite cooking magazine).  I liked the idea of steaming the squash over an impromptu squash broth.  But the finished recipe lacked umami.  I added a little of this and a little of that and a delicious, complex soup developed.  I made the whole thing in a stock pot, but you can use a dutch oven, or start with a pot and move to a slow cooker.

Butternut Squash Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2.5 hours

Yield: About 10 cups

4 tbsp butter
2 small shallots, minced
2 medium or 1 large butternut squash
5 c water
2 c low-sodium chicken stock
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground sage
4 fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus more for garnishing
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 c cream
salt and pepper to taste

(1) Halve the butternut squash; scrape out the seeds and fibers and set them aside

(2) Cut each half squash into 4 sections (16 pieces total)

(3) Melt butter in a large pot

(4) Add shallots and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes

(5) Add squash seeds and fibers, saute for another 3 minutes

(6) Add water and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil

(7) Arrange squash in a steamer, cut side down

(8) Lower steamer into boiling water, cover and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes, until squash is fork-tender

(9) Carefully remove steamer and lay squash, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet

(10) Strain liquid from water-seed mixture into a separate bowl; discard seeds and strings

(11) When squash are cool enough to touch, scrape the flesh from the skin into the liquid

(12) Puree squash and liquid in a blender in batches

(13) Heat squash puree over medium heat in a dutch oven, large pot, or slow cooker

(14) Add chicken stock, nutmeg, sage (ground and fresh), bay leaf, balsamic, cream, brown sugar, and about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper

(15) Simmer for about 20 minutes, adjust spices as necessary, and simmer for at least another 30 minutes
(16) Serve with a swirl of balsamic and olive oil

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Notes: If using fresh nutmeg, use less at first and add more later if necessary.  Steaming the squash over the seeds was the Cook's Illustrated method, I think it adds a nice flavor, and it makes peeling the squash so much easier.

What was cooking this time last year?


Anonymous said...

That looks really good.

Madeline said...

I finally got the ingredients to make this dish and it turned out perfectly! I wanted to practice it before thanksgiving, and now I am certain it will be part of the menu!

Anonymous said...

looks delicious. hope we can try it next time we see you xxxx

Anonymous said...

the latest new yorker is almost completely dedicated to food and cooking. the article on root vegetables was interesting and the chicken stew cooked with a medley of spices and root veggies sounds good, something worth thinking about as the days grow colder and darker..I see that you used the board I gave you for the picture of the squash soup-no wonder my eye was drawn to it.xxxxxxxx

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