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Basic Winter Squash Soup
Serves 8 (makes approx. 4 cups)

One reason we cook a lot of winter squash soup at Relish is because it can be adapted to pair with almost any wine, depending on how it is seasoned. We have made so many versions here at Relish that I honestly can’t remember them all. Start with this "basic" recipe and then add seasonings as you like. There are lots of examples at the bottom.

1 medium    butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp        butter
½ medium   yellow onion, sliced
2 cups        vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds from the squash. Season the cut sides with salt and pepper and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Bake squash for 30 minutes or until soft when poked on the outside. Remove from oven and turn squash over to allow steam to escape. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the pulp and discard the skins.

While the squash is baking, heat the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Add the yellow onions and cook at least 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the cooked squash and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Very carefully puree in a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in the pot) until smooth, adding more stock as needed to get to your desired thickness.

Serve hot (reheating in the sauce pot as needed.)

Here are some suggested variations (the squash varieties are interchangeable):

  • Curried Butternut Squash Soup – add 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder in the sauce pot when sautéing the onions. Try a riesling or dry rosé.
  • Acorn Squash Soup with Pancetta, Thyme and Blue Cheese – Sauté 2 or 3 oz of cubed pancetta and a few thyme sprigs with the onions. Lovely with pinot noir.
  • Hubbard Squash Soup with Chipotle and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – Add 1 tablespoon of chipotle powder when soup is simmering and top with seeds. Great with a smoky zinfandel.
  • Roasted Butternut Squash with Fuji Apples and Smoked Paprika – Roast chopped apples along with squash and add 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika to the sautéed onions. Nice with a soft red wine like merlot.

You can enrich the soup with a bit of heavy cream (displacing some of the stock), or not. Spice it up with some cayenne or other hot powder, or not. Add a simple garnish—homemade croutons, a drizzle of Saba or reduced balsamic vinegar, some chopped toasted nuts, or just a dollop of sour cream or even plain yogurt.

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