Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is nearly rich enough to serve as a dessert, but I use it as the basis for an easy midwinter meal. I make the soup ahead of time, say on a Sunday, and then serve it midweek with a hearty salad (perhaps including pear or some roasted beets), an oven-toasted baguette, and a nice cheese.

(serves two adults and two children)

1 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 Tbs unsalted butter
4 c chicken stock
ground nutmeg
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
heavy cream (optional)

1. Trim and peel the squash (see tip below). Halve it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut into one-inch dice. Coarsely chop the onion. Strip and coarsely chop the rosemary.

2. In a large stockpot, melt the butter and sauté the onion over medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, chicken stock, and rosemary. Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the squash becomes tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, remove the squash to the bowl of a food processor and puree. Return the squash puree to the stockpot and stir to combine. Season to taste with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. When serving, consider drizzling a little heavy cream into each portion.

• For some reason, peeling butternut squash leaves an unpleasant residue on the hands that can badly dry out the skin. I avoid this by wearing disposable latex gloves (found at any drug store).

• This soup has a lot of body. If you prefer your soup thinner, add more chicken stock at any time.

• If you own an immersion blender and haven’t figured out when to use it, this is your chance. Forget the food processor. Just lower your immersion blender into the stockpot and press PLAY.

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