Monday, February 1, 2010

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Soup

Have you ever been haunted by food? I had a butternut squash, rosemary, blue cheese, caramelized shallots, and bacon pizza a few years ago that has nagged at my soul since then. I have tried a few times to recreate this flavor combination in a way that works, but I usually failed (like here).

I promised you this recipe last winter (promise), when I was playing with it, but hadn't quite perfected it yet. However, one can only make so much squash soup before going into vitamin A overload in one season. So, sorry you had to wait until this year. It might be worth it.

Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Soup

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash (about 2.5 pounds)
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 ounce blue cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Note: blue cheese can vary in flavor. When adding the cheese, start with about half, and slowly work up, tasting frequently. You don't want the flavor or the mustiness to overpower the rest of the soup.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, and cut into approximately 1-inch cubes. Peel and trim the shallots, and cut in half. Coat the squash and shallot with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until soft and a slightly browned (20 - 30 minutes, check frequently).

When the squash is almost done, bring the chicken broth to boil on the stove in a large pan. Add the squash and shallots, along with the rosemary. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until the squash is very soft. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream and cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese is melted and distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Optional Crispy Shallot topping:
Cut 1 shallot in half lengthwise, and slice the shallot into thin strips. Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots, and quickly stir for a few minutes. The shallots will become golden and crispy.

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