Thought it would be nice if I came up with something new in terms of squash soups. A friend really likes to cook with leeks, so I thought that sounded like a good complement to butternut squash. Baking the squash is really the easiest way, but you can alternately peel, cube and steam it. I think we’ve known each other long enough that you realize I hate peeling. Despise. It. And will do almost anything to avoid it. Besides, baking squash on a cold day adds a nice ambiance to the house. You can also cook the squash a day ahead to ease preparation.
Without further ado:
Butternut and Leek Soup
- 1 to 2 (about 2 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped out
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 leek , white and green parts only, washed and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Sour cream & chives for garnish
Baking dish, large saucepan or dutch oven and blender
Place squash, cut side down on baking dish, add a bit of broth, enough to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Cook at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool and then scoop flesh from skin and toss skins.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and 1 cup cooked squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the squash begins to caramelize and leeks soften. Remove squash and leek to blender. Add 1/2 cup of broth to saucepan to deglaze, then add remaining broth, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, salt, pepper and cayenne to saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and let simmer.
Meanwhile, in blender (do in batches if needed) add baked squash and 1 to 2 cups water to the squash and leek mixture and blend until completely smooth. Add to saucepan, along with any remaining water (total 2 cups). Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs, serve with sour cream and chives.