Andrew D'Ambrosi's (Top Chef season 4) Squash Soup
Serves 6-8, Time: 1 hour
1 bay leaf
4 to 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 to 10 peppercorns
1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 shallots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup honey
¼ cup white miso
6 cups vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
Vanilla Crème Fraîche:
1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraîche
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
For the Bouquest Garni:
Wrap the bay leaf, parsley, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and tie.
For the Squash Soup:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the butternut squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and tuck sage leaves under. Roast for 10 minutes, then add the acorn squash, cut side down. Roast 25 minutes longer. Remove and let cool. Scoop the squash halves and pass the flesh through a potato ricer or food mill. Set aside.
- In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, shallots, and garlic and sweat 10 minutes. Stir in the honey. Stir in the miso until the vegetables. Add the pureed squash and the vegetable stock. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
For the Vanilla Crème Fraîche:
In a large bowl, whip the crème fraîche with a whisk until fluffy. Scape the seeds from the vanilla bean and gently fold the seeds into the crème fraîche.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with a dollop of the vanilla crème fraîche.