Roasted Red Kuri Squash Soup
Red kuri squash is a popular ingredient in France, where it is known as potimarron because its flesh has a slightly nutty quality that is reminiscent of the chestnut (marron, in French). In this recipe shared by The Cook’s Atelier, a cooking school and epicurean center in Beaune, France, it is roasted to bring out its sweet, nutty flavor before it is pureed into a velvety cold soup with a beautiful color. For an extra-decadent dish, you can thinly shave some truffles on top.
- 3 to 3 1/2 lb. (1.5 to 1.75 kg) red kuri squash
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Leaves from 2 fresh sage sprigs
- 1 cup (3 oz./90 g) thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) thinly sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup (2 oz.60 g) thinly sliced shallots
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) thinly sliced onions
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) vegetable stock
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) crème fraîche
- Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
- Minced fresh chives for garnish
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush the inside of each squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck a few sage leaves in into each squash half. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside until the squash is cool enough to handle. Discard the sage leaves, then scoop the squash flesh into a bowl. Discard the peels.
In a stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic from coloring. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the bouquet garni: Place the parsley, thyme and bay leaf on a square of cheesecloth and tie closed with twine.
Add the bouquet garni and the vegetable stock to the stockpot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 10 to 14 minutes. Add the roasted squash to the pot and continue to simmer gently until the flavors are blended, about 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Let the soup cool slightly.
Transfer the soup, in batches as necessary, to a blender and carefully puree until smooth. (Be very careful, as the hot soup may splash out of the blender.) Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, tapping the side of the strainer if necessary until the soup passes through. Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you’re ready to serve the soup, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter, stirring frequently, until all of the milk solids turn golden and the butter has a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Remove from the heat.
To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche and a drizzle of the browned butter. Grate some nutmeg over the top, garnish with chives and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
The Cook’s Atelier, Beaune, France