Sunday, November 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I have never made pumpkin or squash soups and with a blistery cold front dropping temperatures, I thought this would be the perfect time to try a soup recipe.  Cook's Illustrated's Great Butternut Squash Soup sounded perfect.  The modifications I made were to add some diced onion, since I had some left over from another recipe and I added 4 thyme sprigs rather than 2 since I love thyme.  I had a difficult time peeling the squash, so I mostly peeled it after it cooked.

The soup tastes very fresh and creamy with a delicate flavor.  Yum!

Butternut Squash Soup
serves 6 to 8

2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise, sliced thin and washed thoroughly (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 cups water
2 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
pinch cayenne pepper

Place squash in a bowl, cover and microwave until paring knife glides easily through flesh, 14 to 18 minutes.  Transfer squash to a colander set in a bowl and drain 5 minutes.  Reserve liquid.

Melt butter in Dutch over medium high heat.  Add squash, leek, and 1 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash pieces begin to break down and brown bits form in the bottom of the pot, 10 to 13 minutes.

Add 2 cups broth and scrape bottom of pot to loosen brown bits.  Add remaining 2 cups broth, reserved squash liquid, 1 cup water, thyme sprigs, bay leaf and cayenne.  Increase heat to bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer until leeks are fully tender, 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Working in batches, process soup in blender or use immersion blender, until smooth.  Return soup to pot (if using blender) and thin with up to 1 cup of water to desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

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