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Creamy Winter Squash Soup

Creamy Winter Squash Soup
This image courtesy of Monic Lo

What I love most about using sous vide to make soup is that you can leave it “unsoupervized,” with no risk of it drying out, scorching, or sticking. That means that this flavor-packed soup is extremely low fuss, even more so because there’s no dirty pot to clean. Instead of going the usual baking spices route (that is, the clichéd “pumpkin spice”), I’ve chosen to accentuate the naturally sweet and nutty flavor of the squash with the rich tanginess of crème fraîche, allowing the squash to be the centerpiece of the soup rather than playing second fiddle. Finished with a hit of brightness from fresh herbs and crunchy pumpkin seeds, it’s a knockout dish. This recipe will yield delicious results using nearly any winter squash such as kabocha, butternut, red kuri, or delicata.

Serves4 as an appetizer

CostInexpensive

Total TimeUnder 3 Hours

Type of DishSoup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-small winter squash (about 1½ pounds)
  • 3 cloves Garlic Confit, or 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups homemade chicken or vegetable stock or store-bought low-sodium broth, or water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup crème fraiche, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives or fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish
  • ¼ cup salted roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat your sous vide water bath to 85°C (185°F).

  2. Peel the squash, then halve lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut the halves lengthwise in half again. Turn the squash cut side down and cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Place the squash pieces, garlic, shallot, stock, and bay leaf in a gallon-size freezer-safe ziplock bag and seal using the water displacement or table-edge method. I recommend the latter method for recipes with a relatively large amount of liquid.

  3. When the water reaches the target temperature, lower the bag into the water bath (making sure the bag is fully submerged) and cook for 45 minutes.

  4. Remove the bag from the water bath, discard the bay leaf, and pour the contents of the bag into a blender. Blend on high speed until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the ½ cup crème fraîche and pulse briefly to incorporate, then season with salt and pepper.

  5. To serve, divide the soup evenly among four warmed individual bowls. Garnish each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche, and a scattering of chives and pumpkin seeds.

Do-Ahead Strategy

The cooked squash mixture (not yet pureed) can be chilled in the bag in an ice water bath (see page 14) for 20 minutes and then refrigerated for up to 1 week (set the bag on a tray or in a bowl in case of leakage) or frozen for up to 2 months. Hold off on adding the crème fraîche until after reheating the squash mixture. When you’re ready to serve the soup, reheat the squash in a 70°C (158°F) water bath for 30 minutes and then puree it before adding the crème fraîche.

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