by Mark Bittman
Puréed butternut squash soup has almost become a culinary cliché—but that’s because it’s so good and so easy. My favorite version contains ginger, which adds a little spice to the otherwise mild soup and balances out the sweetness of the squash. You really do have to use cream (or at least half-and-half) here to make the soup rich and luxurious, but a little goes a long way.
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon fresh
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 to 1 cup cream or half-and-half
Put the butter or oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the squash and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until fragrant, another minute or so. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the soup bubbles gently. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is soft and beginning to fall apart, about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pan. Or cool the mixture slightly (hot soup is dangerous), pass it through a food mill or pour it into a blender container, and purée carefully. (The soup may be made ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat it gently.)
Heat the puréed soup until almost boiling. Stir in the cream and heat through, but do not boil. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve garnished with an extra grinding of black pepper if you like.
Yield: Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 1 hour
Recipes: Soup, Butternut Squash, Dairy, Kosher