Winter squash is an amazingly delicious and versatile fruit, but it’s never better than in soups. Here butternut squash is slowly simmered until tender, then puréed until silky-smooth. It gives us an incredibly light soup, yet it’s also rich-tasting and creamy thanks to the texture of the squash.
And since the soup is so low in calories, we can afford to dress it up with a drizzle of brown butter and a dollop of nutmeg crème! The result is a most pleasing combination of flavors, and a most luxurious soup.
If you’re a Chardonnay fan then you’re in for a treat, because it’s the perfect wine for this soup. But make sure to choose a Chardonnay from warmer regions like Mâconnais in Burgundy, Sonoma in California or Gisborne in New Zealand. Indeed, these warmer regions produce full-bodied wine with ripe fruit notes that pair beautifully with the creamy texture of the soup, the slight sweetness of the squash and the richness of the brown butter.
Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter and Nutmeg Crème
serves 4 to 6
active time: 40 min
For the nutmeg crème
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (use a microplane grater)
For the soup
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large leek – green leaves trimmed off (keep white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thoroughly rinsed and cut in 1/8” slices (2 cups)
- 4 large shallots – skinned and cut in 1/4” pieces (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 1 medium butternut squash (2 1/4 lbs) (1 kg) – peeled, seeded and cut in 1″ pieces (6 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups spring water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons brown butter – melted as garnish
- 6 fennel, dill or chervil sprigs as garnish
- Step 1: Place the heavy cream and nutmeg in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip at medium speed until the cream just begins to thicken. It mustn’t be as thick as whipped cream – rather, it should have a consistency similar to yogurt. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook’s note: The crème can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours. If refrigerated for a longer period, it’ll start to separate.
- Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and leeks, stir well and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until leeks have softened. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 more minutes until shallots have softened. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 30 seconds only – do not let the garlic brown. Add the butternut squash, stock, 3 1/2 cups of water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once the soup reaches a full boil, reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover the pot and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the squash is very tender. Purée the soup with a stick blender or food processor until very smooth. Thin the soup to the desired consistency with water, if needed, and adjust the seasonings. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with a spoonful of the nutmeg crème. Drizzle with a little brown butter. Garnish with an herb sprig and serve immediately.
- Cook’s note: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks. It may need to be thinned with additional spring water, as the soup will thicken as it stands.
Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.