Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Butternut squash soup
Special enough for company

Perfect for a nice cold fall or winter day when butternut squash is at its peak

The secret to the velvety texture is an immersion blender but you can puree in a food
processor or jar blender in batches

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion (Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc [TIP: the flatter the onion, the
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
3/4 cup diced fresh fennel bulb
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider (not apple juice)
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon plus a pinch extra fine grey sea salt

Optional toppings (in any combination)
Mexican crema/sour cream/plain Greek yoghurt (See cook’s note)
Butter toasted croutons
Butter browned brunoise of crispy apple
Fennel fronds
Crispy pancetta or bacon
Crushed honey roasted peanuts
Fresh or flash fried sage leaf
Popcorn dusted with ground cumin
Paprika or Turmeric , for dusting lightly

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onion, season lightly with
salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.
Sprinkle in cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom. Stir to gloss and
let cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, to allow the spices to bloom

Add butternut squash, fennel, stock and apple cider. Stir to incorporate. Bring to a
boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the butternut squash is fork tender,
about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (overnight
refrigeration will result in an even more flavorful soup. Cool completely to room
temperature, cover and refrigerate. Next day, remove from refrigerator and allow to
come to room temperature)

Before service:
Heat a kettle over high heat. When the water has come to the boil, carefully pour into
soup bowls

Blend the soup to a puree in small batches. Return each batch to the stock pot before
whisking in the half and half and seasoning with salt. Place over medium high heat
and heat until wisps of steam arise from the pot. Stir before tasting for seasonings (all
of them)

Pour the cooled boiling water from the soup bowls and wipe dry

Ladle the warmed soup into the warmed soup bowls, garnish as desired, and serve

Cooks’s note: For a professional looking presentation, bring any thick dairy ingredient
to room temperature and spoon into plastic squeeze bottles. Use a light hand to
create designs on top of the plated soup