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On golden pond of butternut squash soup

November 14, 2006

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I’m a big fan of soup. And I get especially excited for those thick, creamy blended soups that you see at fancy restaurants. The kind where a lot of cream and a hand blender have been involved. That’s precisely the kind my husband recently made.

His butternut squash soup was just the sort of thing that I’d order in a restaurant… but better. Why? I’d venture to say it was tastier, fresher and let’s face it: free of charge. The soup was thick and rich, with that beautiful golden hue from roasted butternut squash. Of course, that couldn’t be the end of its appeal; pureed vegetables make baby food, not restaurant fare. So he added a dollop of creme fresh, a splash of truffle oil and a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives. As Ace Ventura might say: B-E-A-utiful.

Yes, it’s getting pretty gourmet in here, folks. I just hope my husband doesn’t institute a dress code. I’m fond of dining in my pajamas.

Backgrounder…
My wife need not worry about her Hugh Hefner-style attire being banned from our table (pajamas, not bunny ears people… and for those of you thinking birthday suit, keep your mind out of the gutter, we are doing a family thing here). No matter how high flying my cooking might attempt to get, she can show up however she wants and get fed. Last night, she just happened to benefit from my desire to try a new ingredient and also be a bit showy.

As for the recipe, it was an experiment of the best kind. For some time now, I’ve been staring at the various squashes and gourds at the supermarket. I have been extremely hesitant to go near them because I had no idea what to do with them. Yet there they have been, looming large and looking more like a decorative centerpiece than actual ingredient. But yesterday, I ditched my hesitation and grasped hold of the butternut squash.

This recipe had two inspirations. First, it’s pumpkin pie time. That means that I am seeing recipes for the pumpkin pie everywhere. And most of the these recipes use canned pumpkin. The explanation is that to get real pumpkin puree you have to go through steps like peeling, cutting and roasting. This clued me into the fact that with something as big as the butternut squash I bought, I’d first have to roast it to get it soft enough to make soup.

Second, last year my wife and I were visiting her grandparents in Northern California. We had lunch at the CIA’s Greystone campus, and the amuse bouche that day was a shot of some sort of gourd soup with a pumpkin seed oil on top. This gave me two ideas: One, I could easily make a thick soup with my new squash, and, two, I could use a fragrant oil to give real depth of aroma and flavor.

The result was a success. Even with its time consuming roasting of the squash, the recipe produces something relatively simple to prepare. However, I feel like I gilded the lily with the white truffle oil and crème fraîche. You can replace the crème fraîche with sour cream and the truffle oil with something less exotic but still deeply aromatic. I went for a gold gourmet star. I hope you enjoy it. If you want to show up in your PJ’s for dinner too, then I suspect we can make arrangements to make a space for you.

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Butternut Squash Soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (4+ pounds raw)
3 cup vegetable broth
1 large onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
olive oil
salt
black pepper

Garnish:
crème fraîche
six green onions
white truffle oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Slice the squash in half length wise. Using a spoon, core the seeds. Place in a roasting pan. Liberally coat with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Roast in oven for an hour or until the flesh is easily pierced with a paring knife.

3. Remove from the oven, and let cool so it is not too hot to handle. Remove the skin and roughly chop any large portions of the flesh remaining.

(NOTE: Seeing as I was a novice when it comes to cooking with raw squash and gourds, I chose this method. In retrospect, I would likely have peeled the squash and cubed it prior to roasting it. I suspect I would have saved myself a good deal of time and effort by the simple physics of it. By increasing the surface area being exposed, I suspect I could have cut off significant time as well as not having to wait until it cooled before proceeding. I’ll try this method in the future, but I would encourage you to try it yourself. I’d follow the same process, but start checking at about 30 min. for doneness.)

4. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. of butter. Once the butter has stopped bubbling, add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.

5. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent and starting to lightly yellow, about 6 min. Add the nutmeg and stir. Cook for another 3 min.

6. Add the roasted butternut squash and stir. Let cook for about 5 min before stirring again. You should start to see carmelization coming on the bottom of the pan. Add the honey and let cook again for another 5 min.

7. Add about 1/2 cup the broth and deglaze the pot. Once all those nice brown bits are up from the bottom of the pot add the remaining broth. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 5 min at a low boil.

8. Turn off the heat and let cool for another 5 min.

9. Using a stick blender (or you can use a blender in small batches), puree the mixture until you have a nice smooth texture. Return to heat and lets simmer until you are ready to serve.

(NOTE: When I use my stick blender on something hot, I typically move the pot into my sink. I find this limits mess and risk of getting very hot liquid on myself or anyone else. Of course, you have to feel safe carrying a pot with a gallon of molten squash.)

10. Garnish by adding a dollop of crème fraîche, a sprinkling of green onions, and a drizzle of white truffle oil. Serve very hot. Enjoy!

23 comments

  1. don’t even joke about it, some of us live nearby and love our pjs… and butternut squash ^_-

    i do have a quick question though– i’m always tempted to buy creme fraiche, but as i’m but one smallish person, i’m afraid i won’t be able to use it up in time. how long does it stay fresh, and is there anything you can make with it that freezes well?

    thanks (i do so love living vicariously through you)


  2. You two need a cooking show! You would be hilarious!

    Seriously, I just had a similar soup in a restaurant two weeks ago — with a dash of curry and some spicy croutons.

    I could make this NOW…I even have the white truffle oil.


  3. I love butternut squash soup, and make it at home at least a few times every winter.

    It is a lot easier to cube the squash before roasting (and faster because you don’t have to handle the squash once roasted- thereby avoiding singed fingers). The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to slice the squash crosswise into 2 inch thick rings, slice the skin off each ring, then cube it.

    I love your blog- the two of you team up to be very engaging and fun.


  4. I came up with a squash soup recipe last year that includes maple syrup and horseradish: http://seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2005/11/squash-soup.html


  5. Thanks for the praise. I know my wife and I really appreciate it. We work hard to show the good time we have while we are doing this.

    teb—Regarding crème fraîshe… My personal feeling is that if it can have sour cream, its even better with crème fraîshe. Though I’ve taken your comment to heart and I think I’ll have another recipe that I think will use up the small amount I bought for a totally new purpose.

    Mimi—We adore you. We are so glad you are back blogging too. And my wife and I agreed you have a well stocked pantry. I’m thinking of other uses for my truffle oil so if you have suggestions I’d love a few ideas.

    Also, there is no plans currently to shoot a My Husband Cooks pilot episode. Mostly because we can’t decide who would get top billing. I say she is the smart-mouth sidekick, she says I’m the stiff collared Bunsen to her Beaker (Muppet Show Reference) and that really it’s about the making people laugh. So until we’ve hashed it out, I’m not sure we are going to get a development deal with the Food Network.

    Amy—I know… the cubing part just was so dumb by me. I sat there looking at it after it cooked. All I could think is: “Dern this is too hot… I can’t believe I didn’t cut this up sooner.” But then I grinned and realized… it made great photos! So craft be damned this is a multimedia presentation! (Though I will be totally cubing mine before hand from now on.)

    Kevin—I love your use of leeks in your recipe. I went to the store thinking I would use them in mine. But they only had ones that looked like they were plucked sometime in June and should not be sold as “fresh produce.” And I’m with you on the maple syrup. The honey in this recipe was all about enhancing the sweetness already there in the squash.


  6. Billing is a minor issue! I think you would draw viewers — I see a sort of Tracy-Hepburn thing here. . .


  7. I adore squash soup! I usually use an acorn or pepper squash for soup. I’ve only tried butternut once and was really disappointed in it. And no wonder! The inside of it didn’t look anything like the one in your picture. It was pale and pasty rather than that lovely deep gold colour.

    Here’s something you might like to try as a garnish for your squash soup (got the idea from Gourmet magazine years ago): Julienne some ginger and fry it in peanut or olive oil til golden and crispy. Float four or five sticks of julienned ginger in each bowl of soup.

    -Elizabeth


  8. Elizabeth–I will have to try that. Ginger is a staple in our house so its always handy. I also love the stuff anyway I can get it–cookies, powdered, candied, fresh… So I’ll try it sometime soon. Thanks


  9. […] Yet, last week, a commenter, teb, when asking about butternut squash soup being garnished with crème fraîche, was concerned about what else to use the crème fraîche in so as not to waste it. This made me think about quick ways to put it into something while featuring it and use it up completely. My immediate thought was as a sour cream replacement and to make these cookies. […]


  10. This works really well with homemade chicken bone , veal bone and vegetable stocks also.

    While meat stocks take 5 – 10 hours to make well, a simple vegetable stock of carrots, celery, leeks, onions and garlic only takes 30 minutes or so to make. Saute a half cup to cup of the carrots, celery, leeks, and onions with one or two shallots and a clove or two of garlic and simmer with two quarts of water and a glass of white wine for 30 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

    For garnish try a couple of sauted wild mushrooms chopped up – chanterelles, morels, fresh porcinis work really well and for a special occasion, a grated truffle (a oregon or flash frozen italian summer truffles can be found for under $10). Finely chopped chives work as a substitute for green onions.

    Creme Fraiche is not as sour as regular sour cream so it can be served as an accompaniment to a fruit salad or fresh berries


  11. Hi, Recipe looks yummy. Regarding the creme fraiche. I usually make my own if I can remember to plan a day ahead. It makes the cost of using it much cheaper and you can make as much as you want. I generally have buttermilk cubes in the freezer so that makes it easy as well or you can even make your own buttermilk.🙂
    Once you’ve frozen the buttermilk it will probably take a little longer to become fully active
    Here’s a site that summarizes things pretty well.
    http://www.baking911.com/pantry/dairy.htm

    If you go to creme fraiche there are several recipes for making it yourself. I generally use the 2 TBS buttermilk or buttermilk/lemon combo (I like the flavor lemon adds).


  12. Truffles are one of the world’s most complex and mysterious foods. Truly exceptional truffles (almost all of which from Italy) are costly, perishable and hard to find, but truffle oil captures the essence of Italy’s best truffles without the expense.

    This truffle seasoning, made with extra virgin olive oil and a slice of real white truffle, is a flavorful enhancement for steak, pasta, fried eggs, mushroom dishes and cheese.

    This olive oil is infused with the exotic flavor of white truffles sometimes know as the “fruit of the woods” and comes in small bottles because a little of its very strong truffle flavor goes a long way.

    A few drops of the truffle olive oil will give the final touch of class to an unforgettable dish. Drizzled over a sliced loaf of warmed bread, it makes an unusual, deeply flavored variation of garlic bread.

    It is an excellent ingredient of the “primit piatti” or first course, particularly with risotto, pasta and fish dishes or just pour a few drops on a simple salad. Truffle oil is often poured at the table, so that the full aroma can escape and do its thing on your guest.
    What is a truffle?

    A truffle is a fungus that grows 3-12 inches below the ground at the base of certain trees and can only be located by pigs or dogs. Of the nearly 70 known varieties, the most desirable are black truffles (often from Umbria) and white truffles (from Piemonte). Fresh truffles are generally available from late fall to midwinter.
    How to Use White Truffle Oil?

    Truffle oils are generally not used in cooking, as the heat adulterates their flavors. Instead, they are added after a dish is prepared or used in salads and other cold dishes.

    Truffle oil is often poured at the table, so that the full aroma can escape and do its thing on your guest.


  13. http://gatewaygourmet.com/truffle_oil.htm


  14. I wanted to use your celery root recipe and your squash recipe, however, two photos overlap the beginning of each recipe!


  15. The photos are still overlapping the text–so sad, because your soup looks and sounds wonderful!


  16. I would love to make this soup. However, the pictures are hiding some of the ingredients! Please repair. I’ll check again before my squash gets moldy! Thanks!


  17. You can use truffle oil just about in everything savory. I use it in mac and ch, drizzled on top of french fries, in mashed potatoes, soups, I love the stuff. I think it’s good in and on everything!


  18. xbox 360 motorola z3 qip motorola v3i


  19. Currently making your soup but didn’t read whole recipe first so divided my squash and covered it in oil & seasoning! Drat – still hope it won’t be too difficult to get out. Am subsidising honey for marmalade (all I have) and craime fresh for natural yoghurt so will see how it goes🙂


  20. […] Butternut Squash and Turnip Soup From My Husband Cooks […]


  21. Thanks for the great recipe and easy to follow instructions. I made it for dinner tonight and it was a hit. Didn’t have any ginger but the garlic and nutmeg seasoned it just right.


  22. Good job posting it along with some pictures. Thanks for sharing it helps me remind me of a recipe I tried before called Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Gnocchis.


  23. […] On golden pond of butternut squash soup | My husband cooks – Nov 14, 2006 · I’m a big fan of soup. And I get especially excited for those thick, creamy blended soups that you see at fancy restaurants. The kind where a lot of …… […]



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