Butternut Squash Soup with Scallion Cream
- SERVINGS: 6-8
- Two 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter—4 tablespoons melted
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium leek, white and tender green, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 medium scallions, minced
- 2 fresh chives, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash with the 4 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery, leek and carrot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until barely softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ginger, thyme and roasted squash. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Partially cover, reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper.
- Reheat the soup. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the scallions and a pinch of salt and whip to firm peaks.
- Ladle the soup into bowls or shallow soup plates and garnish with a dollop of the scallion cream and a sprinkling of the chives. Serve at once.
For one wine to serve as an aperitif and as a match with the first two courses, look for a white with lively acidity but some depth of flavor, such as a Pinot Blanc. Trimbach or Hugel, both from Alsace, are refreshingly crisp but have enough flavor to balance the soup and salad.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.