So roasted squash soup isn’t really a side dish I guess…it is a first course, but whatever, I made this up and it is THE SHIT and perfect to start out any thanksgiving feast.
I love butternut squash soup – it has the best texture ever – like velvet. It is creamy thick and rich without the addition of a ton of cream.
I had a butternut squash and a couple of acorn squashes sitting around and I thought, what the hell, let’s try a soup with both in there. I also happened to have fennel in the fridge, and since I was already experimenting, I figured it couldn’t hurt to really f’ing experiment and god am I ever glad I did.
Caramelizing the fennel with shallots softens the texture and adds a subtle sweetness that is different than the sweetness from the squash. A little vermouth and vegetable demiglace (I get mine here and it lasts forever and is WONDERFUL in so many things) along with the stock, add all the savory elements that literally make this the perfect soup.
If you are not first course kind of people on thanksgiving…save this recipe for a great weekend lunch or a dinner party – you can fancy-pants your ass off for your guests.
Roasted squash soup with caramelized shallots and fennel
- 4 pounds butternut and acorn squash seeded and halved or quartered
- Melted butter to brush the squash
- salt and pepper for squash roasting and seasoning the soup
- 3 cups vegetable broth you could also use chicken broth if you don't have vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup finely dices shallots
- small fennel bulb very thinly sliced (as close to shaved as you can)
- 1/4 cup of dry vermouth
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable demiglace
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 425 and place the butternut squash on the pan and brush each half with just enough melted butter to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Brush butter over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through and totally soft, about 50 minutes, then let it cool enough to handle it. Scoop all the flesh out of both squashes into a bowl.
In a dutch over or whatever you use for a soup pot, melt two tablespoons of butter with a touch of olive oil, add the shallots and fennel with a little bit of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot and fennel has softened and is starting to caramelize - this takes about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, stirring quite a bit and don't turn the flame too high - you'll burn them. The end product should be super golden browned and super soft and smell sweet. When caramelized, add the demiglace and stir to blend into the mixture. Turn heat up on stove and add your vermouth and reduced until basically evaporated.
Get out your blender or food processor and transfer the cooked shallot/fennel mixture to the blender along with three cups of the stock, the reserved squash puree and the nutmeg.
IMPORTANT: Make sure not to fill the blender or processor past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later).
Blend or pulse until the mixture it totally smooth and velvety. Pour soup back into soup pot and heat on low to rewarm, add the cream and adjust your salt and pepper seasoning to your liking.
We LOVED this soup with simple sourdough toasted bread and a couple pumpkin seeds tossed in a saute pan with olive oil, salt and chili powder - plus it looks super fancy this way xoxo