Each year, my pal Kelly over at BarbaricGulp has an anti-Valentine’s day party. The idea is to bring something that would never show up at a romantic dinner – the more garlicky, spicey, date-ending the better. I always have trouble picking out dishes that are appropriately themed the bring, so this year I decided I was just going to make something from my recipe-todo list and work out the theme afterwards. I ended up going with “Squashed Hopes of a Love Affair Soup”. And it was damn good. So good in fact, that I decided to make it again a few days later.
The only really tough part of this recipe is peeling and prepping the squash. I went with a small butternut squash and an acorn squash to add a little depth of flavor. The butternut squash is no fun to peel(tip: grip the squash with a clean towel while peeling) but it is way easier than the acorn squash. To peel an acorn squash: cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, then slice it into segments and peel each segment individually. I found that for this recipe, it’s best to get all of your ingredients cut and prepped before starting. You may think you’ll be able to peel and cut your squash while the onions are cooking … but you won’t be able to. It takes a little time.
The things that makes this soup so good? Heavy cream (booyaa) and the gruyere smothered croutons with herbs. You can almost use the soup as a dip for the croutons – make sure to make extras of the croutons because they are super tasty.
Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
For the Soup
1/4 cup of butter (half a stick)
1 large onion, sliced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of chicken stock
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (3-4 cups)
1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (3-4 cups)
1 tbs fresh thyme, minced
1 tbs fresh sage, minced
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Croutons
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 baguette, sliced diagonally
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh sage, minced
Make the Soup
Melt the butter in a large pan (that has a lid). Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft, about ten minutes. Add the chicken stock, squash, and herbs, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer until squash is very tender, about 25 minutes. Using a stick blender (or in batches in a regular blender) puree the soup. Add the sugar and the cream, then season well with salt and pepper. I found that it took close to 2 tsp of salt to get the seasoning correct, but your mileage may vary depending on whether your chicken stock has salt or not.
Make the Croutons
Preheat your boiler on high. Butter one side of your baguette slices (don’t skimp on the butter) and broil until toasty and brown. Turn them over, sprinkle each slice with the herbs and then top with a generous amount of cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and the bread is nicely toasted.
Float a couple croutons on top of each bowl of soup, and serve the extra croutons on the side for dipping.