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Monday, June 21, 2010

Roasted Squash Soup

This delicious and creamy soup would be perfect served as a first-course for Thanksgiving dinner. Acorn Squash makes a great substitute if Butternut Squash is not available.

1 TB Olive Oil
1 large Butternut Squash (about 3 pounds), halved and seeded
3/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
6 cloves Garlic
4 Thyme Sprigs
3 TB Unsalted Butter
1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 TB Unsalted Butter
1 cup 1/2-inch Diced White Bread
1 TB Sour Cream
1 TB Fresh Minced Chives

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the olive oil over the cut side of the squash and season with a 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the prepared pan. Tuck the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs under the cavity of the squash. Roast the squash 50 to 60 minutes, until soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reserve the garlic cloves and discard the thyme. Scoop the butternut squash flesh from the skin, coarsely chop, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and shallots for 7 to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the roasted butternut squash, the reserved garlic cloves, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Purée the soup until smooth with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Return it to the pan and add the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

For the croutons: Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the cubes of bread and toast, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into warmed shallow bowls, dollop each with 1/2 teaspoon of sour cream, sprinkle with the croutons and chives. Serves 4 or 6 servings as a first course.

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