Thursday, October 9, 2014

A kinder and gentler Butternut squash soup by Daniel Porubiansky October 09, 2014

 It finally feels like the summer heat has broken. You can feel a cooler breeze in the evening without the sweltering temperatures of the afternoon.

Now that tomatoes are pretty much finished, it is time to start thinking about autumn. When autumn comes, so do pumpkins, fall squashes and gourds.

One of my favorite fall crops is the butternut squash. Last year at Century House I made a butternut squash soup that to this date has been the most popular soup I have made.

Last years version contained butter and cream. This year, we have given it a new twist: it is completely vegan. Yes, vegan no butter, no cream, and no chicken stock. So far this season, I am getting the same rave reviews of the new version of the soup as compared to last years version; I guess I make a pretty good soup.

I like to garnish my soup with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh chives. Try each of these versions at home and decide which you like better. Both are very easy to prepare. As always, good cooking.

Chef tip: This soup can be made a day or two in advance and then reheated when ready to serve.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS AND CHIVES 
(Serves 8)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound unsalted butter
5 pounds butternut squash
1 yellow onion
2 quarts chicken stock (or broth)
1/2 quart heavy cream
2 ounces pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. olive oil
1 bunch chives (finely sliced)

DIRECTIONS Soup:

Peel and seed squash. Dice into 1 inch cubes. Cut onion into inch dice. In a large pot, sauté onion with butter over medium-high heat. Stir frequently for 3 minutes.

Add diced squash and stir for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until squash is tender (approximately 5 -10 minutes). Add heavy cream, return to a boil, and then remove from heat and blend in a Vitamix blender.

Strain thru a fine screen China Cap. Adjust seasoning and set aside. Serve immediately or place in an ice bath to cool down and serve later.

Seeds:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl combine pumpkin seeds with oil and season with salt. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. When seeds are crispy, remove from heat and place on another cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside.

Plating:

Ladle hot soup in to your favorite bowl, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh sprinkle of chives. Enjoy.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP VEGAN RECIPE
(Serves 8)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup olive oil
5 pounds butternut squash
1 yellow onion
2 quarts water
2 ounces pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. olive oil
1 bunch chives (finely sliced)

DIRECTIONS

Peel and seed squash. Dice into 1 inch cubes. Cut onion into inch dice. In a large pot, sauté onion with olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently for 3 minutes.

Add diced squash and stir for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer until squash is tender (approximately 5 -10 minutes). Remove from heat and blend in a blender. Strain thru a fine screen China Cap. Adjust seasoning and set aside. Serve immediately or place in an ice bath to cool down and serve later.

Seeds:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl combine pumpkin seeds with oil and season with salt. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. When seeds are crispy, remove from heat and place on another cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Set aside.

Plating:

Ladle hot soup in to your favorite bowl, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh sprinkle of chives.

Enjoy.

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