A wonderful combination. As fall continues forward and winter lies just ahead, I love turning to the earth for sustenance and grounding. There is no better way to connect with mother earth than with a squash soup. Any squash can be used in this recipe and vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth. I use dried forest mushrooms, but really, use whatever kind you like. Experiment with different flavors and spices. This recipe is a basic one and is meant to be personalized or not.
1 medium squash such as a butternut, peeled, cubed, and roasted (I used a combination of 2 different smaller squashes)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed with skins on and roasted
1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and stems discarded
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3-4 cups chicken broth (you can substitute vegetable broth if you prefer)
1/4 lb seasonal mushrooms (I used a dried forest mix, see note)
Note: If you have never used dried mushrooms, I would recommend that you save trying them for a different recipe. Some have a woody texture and might not be to your liking.
red pepper flake
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Toss peeled and cubed squash with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Season with sea salt and pepper. Scatter the garlic cloves and the fresh thyme leaves over the squash and roast at 400 degrees until tender, 20-30 minutes. When done, set aside.
In a heavy soup pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add a splash of olive oil.
Add onions with a pinch of salt and saute until translucent.
Remove peels from garlic cloves and add to the pot along with the squash and the chicken stock. Bring to a slight boil, then simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, if using dried mushrooms, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until soft, drain. I always keep just a little bit of the water just in case I need to thin out the soup. Skip this step if you are using fresh mushrooms.
When soup has finished simmering, puree in a blender, adding more stock or mushroom water as needed to thin the soup. Season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and dried thyme, to taste.
In a saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Let the mushrooms caramelize to a beautiful brown color. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with mushrooms, a drizzle of honey, and a smidge of red pepper flake. Enjoy!
Recipe inspired by the cookbook, Full Moon Suppers, by Annemarie Ahearn