The Never Ending Quest

Who? Me, and a few other people.
What? Ate the most delicious roasted squash soup ever drizzled with hazelnut oil and topped with pumpkin praline.
Where? Tiburon, Naples, FL
When? November 25, 2004
Why? Because it was Thanksgiving.
How? With a spoon

Now I will spent the rest of my life in a quest to duplicate that soup. And I probably don't even remember what it actually tastes like. This year I made 4 different recipes. Here and here. Too savory. Then I made this one. Good but a little too sweet. This one was voted the best this year. This one looks like a candidate for next year. Call me crazy but I think I better limit it to 2 per year.

Squash Soup
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Serves: 4 servings

6 cups (about 2 large squash) seeded 2-inch wide chunks butternut squash
Melted butter, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.

Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender or blend in blender. Careful hot! Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Last year a made a paltry total of 2 squash soups. Below is the preferred one last year. I added one package of cream cheese to try and duplicate the velvety smoothness I remember.

Butternut Squash Soup
From Diana Rattray
Makes about 8 cups

Garnish this flavorful soup with spiced pumpkin seeds or toasted pecans.

1 large butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
dash ground ginger
dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, to taste
butter-toasted pumpkin seeds, optional, see below

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash. Cut into chunks, removing seeds and soft fibers with a spoon. Put in a bowl; add apple cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon stick pieces then drizzle all over with the melted butter. Pour the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan; cover tightly with foil and cook at 450° for 1 hour, or until very tender.

Meanwhile, cook diced onion in a large saucepan in the 2 tablespoons butter. When onion is very tender, add chicken broth; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. When squash is very tender, remove from oven. Remove cinnamon from the squash. With a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the chicken broth and onion mixture. Add about 1/4 cup of the roasting pan juices to the saucepan. If desired, add 8 oz cream cheese. Bring to a simmer. Working in about 4 batches, puree the squash mixture in a blender; return to the saucepan. Stir in the ginger and nutmeg and the heavy cream, along with salt, to taste. Heat through. Serve with butter-toasted pumpkin seeds (below), if desired, or sprinkle with a little cinnamon, toasted pecans, or chopped peanuts.

Butter-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
In a small skillet, heat 2 teaspoons butter; add a few tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and cook over medium-low heat until lightly browned. Transfer to a paper towel to drain; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

1 comment:

Carrot Jello said...

You are crazy.
Hey, you told me to do it.