Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thinking outside the (bread) box

I simply have to share this recipe, it is too good to be kept secret! For my version I used my whole wheat bread instead of the French bread, and home made chicken stock (made of left over chicken bones from the chicken I butchered yesterday). Store bought stock will work just fine, but I think once you use home made, it's hard to go back to the other!
Anyway... I hope you enjoy.
Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Apples
Yield: 12 portions (can be halved)
125 g French Bread
30 g Butter
30 g Butter
125 g Onions, small dice
125 g Leeks, small dice
190 g Carrots, small dice
1 kg Butternut Squash, medium dice
2.5 L Chicken stock
3/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp White pepper
1/4 tsp Ground allspice
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
12 croutons
375 g Tart, firm cooking apples
15 g Butter
30 g Brown sugar
190 mL Heavy cream (optional)
as needed - additional heavy cream or creme fraiche for garnish, if desired
1) Cut the bread into slices 1/2 inch thick
2) Fry the bread in the 30g butter until golden brown. (If desired, prepare additional croutons for garnish at the same time; see step 8.)
3) Heat 30g butter in a heavy sauce pot over moderately low heat.
4) Add the onions, leeks and carrots. Sweat them until they are about half cooked. Do not let them brown.
5)Add the squash, stock and browned bread from step 2. (But NOT the croutons for the garnish.) Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 - 15 minutes.
6) Puree the soup with a food mill or immersion blender.
7) Bring the soup back to a simmer. Add seasonings, taste and adjust if necessary.
8) While the soup is simmering, prepare the croutons if you have not already done so, by browning slices of French bread in butter as in steps 1 and 2. For the best appearance, use a slender loaf so croutons aren't too big.
9) Peel and core the apples. Cut into small dice.
10) Heat 15g butter in a saute pan and add the apples and sugar. Cook over moderate heat until the apples are brown and caramelized.
11) At service, heat the heavy cream (if using) and add to the soup.
12) For each portion, ladle the soup into a broad soup plate. Decorate the top of the soup with a swirl of cream, if desired. Heap a generous tablespoon of apple onto a crouton and carefully place the crouton in the soup.

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