016 - Butternut Squash & Leek Soup


016 - Butternut Squash & Leek Soup

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Butternut Squash & Leek Soup

4 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, halved lengthwise
3 Tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, coarsely chopped
7 small sage leaves or 1 tsp. dried sage
5 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
About 3 Tbsps. chopped chives
8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash, cut side down,
on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake until tender, about
40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out and
discard the seeds. Scrape the squash from the skin into a large
nonreactive bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, in large heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole,
warm the olive oil and melt the butter over low heat. Add the
leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and
browned, about 40 minutes. Discard the sage leaves, if using.
Stir in the broth and the squash. Increase the heat to moderate
and simmer for 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree
the soup in batches until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pan
and season it with the salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with
1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 teaspoon chopped chives, and a
sprinkling of the bacon.

Serves 8.