Autumn Squash Soup
2-3 pounds squash (kabocha, acorn, or butternut) peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1 pear, cored and chopped
1/2 onion, medium diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups stock (chicken, vegetable or even water)
1 cup cream, optional
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup plain yogurt
a few sprigs of fresh herbs (chervil or sage)
flakey sea salt and coarsely ground pepper
In a stock pot over medium heat, sauté the pear, onion and celery in the butter. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent. Add the squash. Stir. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the squash starts to soften. Add ginger. Stir and cook for one minute. Add stock or water. Lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer until squash is tender when you pierce it with a fork, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Using a standard or immersion blender, puree the soup until it is very smooth. At this point, you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer if you’d like a more elegant soup, or skip this step to enjoy a more rustic version.
Whisk one cup cream (optional) into the strained version to add more body back into the soup and give it a velvety finish. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Dollop a bit of plain yogurt onto each serving, top with fresh chervil or sage, large flakes of sea salt and coarsely cracked pepper.
To take it up a notch, put the yogurt in a squeeze bottle (or even a small ziplock bag with corner cut off). Squeeze a few dots onto the top of the soup, then drag a toothpick through the dots. Seriously, that’s it.