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Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage Croutons

This soup comes together quickly, thanks to our butternut squash puree. Garnished with crispy croutons and fried sage leaves, it makes an impressive first course for Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare the croutons and crispy sage leaves while the soup simmers.

Ingredients:

  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 fresh sage sprigs
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 jar (2 lb.) butternut squash puree
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 cups crustless bread cubes (1/4-inch cubes), preferably from a batard
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Crème fraîche for serving

Directions:

Using kitchen twine, tie the thyme and sage sprigs into a bundle. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the butternut squash puree, broth and herb bundle. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook until dark green and crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the bread cubes to the same pan and cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes, adding the minced sage during the last minute of cooking. Transfer the croutons to the paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.

When the soup is done, season it with salt and pepper and discard the herb bundle. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top each portion with a dollop of crème fraîche and garnish with the fried croutons and sage leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.