Simple but Effective Squash Soup

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Here is a basic pureed soup technique I learned while working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Ca!


1 Butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2 Small onions or 1 medium onion, sliced very thin

2 Tablespoons neutral oil like olive or canola

Water to cover

Salt and pepper to taste


Simply, sweat onions in oil and a pinch of salt while covering pot.  When the onions are completely soft, they are at their sweetest.  Add in squash and cover with water so that the squash can just freely move around.  Simmer until the squash is tender.  Blend, strain for lumps, and season to taste.

If there’s one thing that I have learned from all the years I have been cooking its this: K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid…great advice, but hurts my feelings every time).  The idea is that in working with any food, simplicity is the key to great cooking.  If I am using a vegetable at the pinnacle of its ripeness and flavor, then by adding more than the basic ingredients to get the job done, I am only diluting that flavor.  Let’s say, we put a mix of spices like chili powder, cumin, and coriander into the pot as aromatic seasoning, then melt in soft goat cheese.  The squash would be lost under all the heavier flavors.  That’s not to say that complimentary flavors aren’t welcome.  Instead, garnish with spices, cheese, and cilantro to preserve the freshness of those flavors, and add a pop of flavor to the sweetness of the soup.  Easy and simple technique, but complex in flavor.  Give this recipe a try.  And keep in mind this technique can be used on any fruit or vegetable to make purees, soups, or sauces!


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