Happy Friday! And to my Canadian friends, happy long weekend. Our French classic dinners were a hit this week. The soup was probably the most liked meal, followed by the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and brussle sprouts with lardons. I wanted to take a photo of that meal for you but sadly I chopped more than just the veggies, and my thumb was rendered usless as I sat and contemplated whether I needed to get stitches or not (I didn't). Rob finished cooking the meal for me, and unfortunately there was no photo.
But there was a quick one of this soup. Creamy butternut squash soup topped with an oversized sage crouton and gruyère chese. Heaven in a bowl, and the quintessential fall dish, if you ask me. The kids even liked it, which really is the ultimate sign of dinner success in my books.
As I was eating my soup, I thought this would also make for a great first course at a dinner party. Maybe before a nice beef dinner. Then I thought about serving in small shot glasses with mini sage and gruyère crisps, which really is a mighty fine idea, the more I think about it. I'm tempted to do it this weekend, and will let you know if it's a winning idea or not.
Butternut Squash Soup with Gruyère Croutons
For the Soup:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
- 2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 3 apples (McIntosh), peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
For the Croutons:
- Crusty bread, sliced into 2" thick slices
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup grated gruyère
Warm the butter, olive oil and leeks in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 minutes, or until tje leeks are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, water and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup with an immersion blender, or purèe it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the maple syrup and enough cream (you may not need the entire 1/2 cup) to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the seasonings and set aside.
To serve: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, and place the bowls on a large baking sheet. Butter the bread slices and top each with the chopped sage and gruyère. Place a large crouton on the top of each soup bowl and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is crusty and the cheese is golden brown. Serve hot.