I’ve made butternut squash soup with ingredients as diverse as apple, curry, and molasses. Invariably, I’ll adjust the seasonings and flavors more than a dozen times before it tastes right.
This time, I wanted to nail down a fail-proof recipe that I could repeat every time and hand down to future generations with pride. (Nieces, nephews, listen up!)
After trying and failing again, I simplified my approach, focusing on the flavors of the core ingredients. I found that the trick to a great butternut squash soup was this:
1) Don't overcomplicate it. Keep the seasoning simple: Salt, pepper, and cayenne balance the sweetness of the roasted veggies and add heat.
2) Use homemade chicken stock. If you must, use high quality store bought chicken stock such as the one from Kitchen Basics.
3) Roast the squash and onions first. Roasting, as opposed to boiling the raw squash in the stock, brings complexity, depth of flavor, and sweetness to the soup that make it irresistible.
A quick blast in the blender, a little cream, and a drizzle of black truffle oil, and boom: you might just have the best B-nut squash soup you've ever tasted. The truffle oil adds an intoxicating aroma and earthy flavor.
This is my version of butternut squash soup, and one I will live by.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash
1 large yellow onion
4 cups homemade or high quality store-bought chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup cream
Pinch of cayenne
Black truffle oil
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the skin off the squash and chop the flesh into 3-inch inch chunks. Quarter the onion, starting vertically at the root so the quarters hang together. In a roasting pan, add the squash and onion and toss them with 3-4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until the vegetables start to caramelize.
In a large soup pot, add the roasted veggies.
Deglaze the roasting pan with 2 cups of water and pour the liquid into the soup pot with the roasted vegetables. Add 4 cups of chicken stock, a generous sprinkling of salt, and a pinch of black pepper and cayenne, and cook at medium-low flame for 1 hour.
Turn off the heat and let cool. In batches, scoop the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the liquid back into the a pot. If it is too thick, add more chicken stock.
Finally, add the cream. Serve with a drizzle of black truffle oil and chopped chives or thyme.