Waltham Butternut Squash Soup

THE WALTHAM HEIRLOOM BUTTERNUT SQUASH
ORIGINS: WALTHAM, MA
BIRTH YEAR: CiRCA 1950
SPECIES: CURCURBITA MOSCHATA CREDITED: BOB YOUNG

Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures

This heirloom was developed by deliberately crossing a gooseneck squash with other squash varieties in the hopes of achieving a compact and uniform- sized squash with a flesh that is easy and consistent to prepare. developed near Waltham, Massachusetts, the heirloom has become a favorite of chefs and customers alike for its appealing flavor and texture— pleasingly buttery and nutty. Quite nutritious and hardy to boot, this squash can store up to six months.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, ground
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large (about 6 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 quart chicken stock (or substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper

METHOD
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes). Add the fenugreek, ginger, garlic, and cloves and sauté for 1 minute. Add the squash and stock and season lightly with salt and pepper. raise the heat to high. bring the stock to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the soup through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, reserving the solids and liquid separately. Working in batches (if necessary), put the solids in a blender and process, adding some of the liquid until the mixture takes on a uniformly thick, smooth consistency. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE
Ladle the soup into warmed wide, shallow bowl. Serve simply with a little olive oil and sea salt or garnish with a variety of combinations (the photo is garnished with pomegranate puree, sunchoke custard, and chervil; another option is diced apples, pumpkin seeds, and chives). It’s sure to warm you and friends through the winter months.

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