Today, there are little snow flurries outside my window. It makes me feel like eating warm soup and sitting on the couch with a snuggie. That's not quite in the cards for me, but at least I can share this soup recipe with you. My family has made it for the past few years as a first course on Thanksgiving. My dad likes it, even though it has cream, cheese and butter in it (small amounts of each, don't worry).
Butternut Squash Soup adapted from Pie in the Sky
I double this recipe for Thanksgiving and other large occasions.
1 2-lb. butternut squash
1 t. olive oil
1 t. sea salt
fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste
1 large shallot, coarsely diced
2 T. plus 1 t. salted butter
1 t. chopped fresh sage leaves, plus 5-10 fresh sage leaves for garnish
1½+ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you're cooking for my parents. Safeway Select Organics is a good one and so is Kitchen Basics. Under pain of death, do not use Trader Joe's brand. I love Trader Joe's, but their vegetable stock tastes like feet)
1/2+ c. heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. light oil cut sides of squash; sprinkle with salt and place cut-side-down on baking sheet. Bake at 370 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until squash is very tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly; scoop out pulp, discarding the skin.
Mmmmm, orange squashy goodness. I could eat it now, but then there wouldn't be any soup.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. When butter begins to froth, add shallots; cook three minutes; add chopped sage. sauté for 2 more minutes, or until onions are tender and translucent.
There are few things in the world better than shallots and butter.
Melt additional butter in pan; add 1 cup stock and bring just to simmer. Remove onion mixture from heat and stir into squash pulp; puree in food processor in batches, adding more broth as necessary.
Pour pureed mixture into medium saucepan. Over low heat, stir in heavy cream, nutmeg, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste (be sure to salt after adding cheese, which is salty itself!). Remove from heat.
I rarely do this next step because I get hungry/lazy. But you feel free! Melt remaining teaspoon salted butter in small sauté pan over medium heat; lay whole sage leaves in butter and fry until frizzled and slightly brown. transfer to paper towel to drain; garnish soup with crispy sage leaves. (Hint: frizzle ribbons of prosciutto with the sage for a special garnish!)
I could eat a lot of this soup. I like to keep it in a jar in my fridge and eat it when I'm too lazy to cook.