Having forgotten to turn up my thermostat this evening, my mind is inevitably drifting towards a warm, hearty dinner, a craving we all get from time to time during the long months. The soups coming from my kitchen lately have been ever more and more savoury, in particular a recipe I scrounged from Matt Kramer several years ago and that my wife has been gradually perfecting over the years. Butternut Squash, the perfect soul warming soup. To start the soup off right, and to prepare your stores for a winter of delicious soups, take the leftovers from a roasted chicken or duck and make some of your own stock. You can really develop some rich, complex yet mellow flavours by making your own, especially compared to what is available over the counter. If you’ve never made stock there is a good recipe over at Foodista. I fill several containers and subsequently my freezer with enough to last a few months. Mixing some home-made with the convenient store-bought variety is a good may to make the stock last while still getting the extra flavour.
Steam the chunks of a small butternut squash until the flesh is tender, then allow to cool so that you can peel off the rind. Usually this takes 15-20 mins. Put the pulp with 1 cups of stock and a tbsp of grated shallot into a blender and blend until the texture is smooth. Transfer the mix to a pan and add another cup of broth. Season with salt, pepper, garlic and hot sauce to taste, then heat the soup until it boils. As the mix is heating, whisk together an egg yolk and 1 cup of cream, then whisk the egg/cream mixture into the boiling soup and stir until the soup begins to thicken. Top with some chive and sour cream and you’re ready to go. Some alternative toppings that work well are bacon bits and garlic croutons. This soup offers a rare opportunity to drink a full bodied spicy white wine in the winter, to counterbalance the rich warm flavours of the soup. Try Alsatian Gewurtraminer or Rhone Valley Viognier (Condrieu works really well).