Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Perfect Pair: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is perfect for Thanksgiving.  Break out your stock pot and start making this delicious soup. Autumn is the perfect time to have a party and carve pumpkins and serve warm cider and soup.  You can find this fall recipe and many more in the Capital Cooking Cookbook.


Horton Cellars, Viognier, 2010
The exotic honey and tropical fruit aromas jump from the glass and pair perfectly with the sweetness of the butternut squash.

2010 Reserve Chardonnay from Sunset Hills Vineyard 
Chardonnay is great because the buttery finish adds to the butternut squash flavors.   

2009 Traminette from Corcoran Vineyards 
Traminette is a relative of the Gewurztraminer grape that will not only compliment this dish but breathe even more life into each spoonful.  

Chester Gap, “Boisseau Vineyard”, Viognier, Warren County, VA, 2009
Bernd Jung works with Richard Boisseau to source richer viognier from the vineyard set on the land of Richard’s old family home in Front Royal.  This wine offers a honeyed and sweet spice profile to complement the flavors found in the soup and casserole.  The wine has a balanced acidity necessary to refresh between bites of these rich dishes.  
The Dish:

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
2 cups butternut squash: peeled, lg dice
1/2 cup carrot: peeled, lg dice
1/2 cup celery: lg dice
1/2 cup leeks: greens, rough chop
1/2 Granny Smith apple: peeled, lg dice
~2 tablespoons fresh ginger: sliced
~4 cloves of garlic: peeled, smashed
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup + 1/4 cup heavy cream
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon chives: fine chop
Sweat the leeks in some butter and a pinch of salt in a pan on low heat. As they begin to soften (~5 minutes or so), then add celery. Sweat for another 5 minutes, then add carrots and butternut squash. Then add the apple. Continue to sweat and then add garlic. Then add slices of fresh ginger (You could use other forms of ginger if you didn’t have fresh on hand.) Add chicken stock (homemade is best) to barely cover the vegetables. Add a pinch of salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a little cardamom. Cover the pan for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove the lid and continue to cook until 50% of the liquid is evaporated. Then add ½ cup of cream. Put the soup in a blender and blend on a high speed until it is completely smooth. Next pass it through a chinoise using a ladle (fine mesh strainer.) Warm the soup again and taste it. Adjust seasonings accordingly. You may want to add more salt at the end for flavor. Top with butter.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Add 1/4 cup of cream to 1/2 cup of sour cream— blend thoroughly. Season, if necessary — if you add pepper, keep it white pepper. Add to squeeze bottle (if you have one) and leave in fridge until serving.

Serve. Ladle the creamy soup into bowls, squirt topping into fun zig-zag shape, top with chives. You can also add some crunch by frying carrot peelings at 350 degrees or you could do the same with shitake mushrooms.

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