Friday, October 11, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup with Croutons & Crème Fraîche






Thanksgiving is a holiday steeped in food traditions. For many, the feast would not be complete without a cherished family dish on the table, whether it's a spinach gratin or homemade cranberry sauce based on the recipe from a beloved aunt or grandmother. Sometimes it's nice to enhance the menu with a few new recipes, but often we crave food that is simple and comforting. For me, nothing says Thanksgiving more than a luscious, silky smooth and savoury Butternut Squash Soup. Garnished with crispy croutons and fried sage leaves, this Williams-Sonoma inspired soup makes an impressive first course for any autumn dinner. The butternut squash can be steamed well in advance, leaving lots of time to prepare the croutons and crispy sage while the soup simmers, and the turkey roasts to golden perfection in the oven.




Butternut Squash Soup with Croutons & Crème Fraîche
Serves 6

5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh sage sprigs
1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
12 fresh sage leaves
3 cups crustless bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup crème fraîche for garnish


Using kitchen twine, tie the thyme and sage sprigs into a bundle, then set aside. Steam the butternut squash until tender, about 10-15 minutes, then mash until smooth.

In a large pot, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash purée, broth and herb bundle. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook until dark green and crispy, about 30-60 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the bread cubes to the same pan and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes, adding the minced sage during the last minute of cooking. Transfer the croutons to the paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.

When the soup is ready, season to taste with salt and pepper, discard the herb bundle and purée in a food processor or hand immersion blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and gently rewarm when ready to serve. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top each portion with a dollop of crème fraîche and garnish with fried croutons and crispy sage leaves. Serve immediately. 






A Scrumpdillyicious Thanksgiving Dinner

APPETIZERS





STARTER
Butternut Squash Soup with Croutons & Crème Fraîche



ENTREE
Thanksgiving Turkey


SIDE DISHES







DESSERT