Velvety butternut squash soup with crispy shallots and pepitas
This Fall I became infatuated with butternut squash soup. I read several recipes and pulled a few elements from each in making this one. The big surprises are cream cheese, molasses and balsamic vinegar. I use porcini mushroom broth but it still tastes great using either vegatable or chicken broth.
I’ve figured out a fairly painless way of getting the hard outer skin off the squash. Using my favorite, super sharp Shun santoku knife, I cut the squash into wheels. Then one by one, lay a wheel flat side down and cut an edge off. Stand the wheel on its end and with the knife working away from you, slice off the skin. The wheels are then easy to cube.
Velvety Butternut Squash Soup
For 6 servings:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large carrot or 10 baby carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4-5 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. ground rosemary
½ tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. molasses
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed pot. Sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add all but last three ingredients. Cook covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add vinegar, molasses and cream cheese. Cool slightly then put in blender and blend on high speed until super smooth. Be careful as blending hot liquids can blow the top off the blender. Hold a dishtowel over the top to insure this doesn’t happen. OR play it safe and cool well then pureé.
1/4 cup canola oil
2 shallots, sliced into very thin rings
1 Tbsp. flour for dredging
Slice shallots as thin as you can.
I dredged half in flour and left half plain. We voted on the flavor of plain but the flour coated ones looked better.
Heat canola or corn oil, separate shallots into rings and fry until brown
Drain on paper towels.
Crispy shallatos add a nice contrast to the velvet texture of the soup.
Pepitas are nice too for a little exra crunch.