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Monday, December 1, 2008

Squash Soup with Vanilla Creme Fraiche- Recipes to Rival November Challenge

I just joined Recipes to Rival, yet another online cooking club. This is only three I swear! Unless someone comes up with a site where they bake everything from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Cookbook I am stopping here. By the way.... does anybody know of one?  

In any case when I first saw that the recipe was for Squash Soup I was a little disappointed. I make squash soup all the time, how hard can this be? Could it really be any different from the 10 other Squash Soups I made this fall. Then I went to the grocery store and started adding up the price for all the ingredients: shallots, leeks, acorn squash, butternut squash, when I reach $135 I was re-thinking the whole thing. Then I realized that this recipe serves 24! Yikes! Well, to start I could cut the recipe in half...
Over the last few weeks I have slowly tweeked my CSA shipment to include the majority of the ingredients for this soup.
One of the requirements for the challenge was that we make our own stock. I have probably only made my own stock one other time. I always feel bad throwing all those cooked veggies away. This time I made my own stock, but I blended all but the mushrooms in with the rest of the soup. 
I must say that I found this recipe a little difficult in the way that it was written. Many things were not very clear, many things were assumed. I suppose if I had watched top chef it might have helped. 
In the end I am glade I cut the recipe in half. As it was I could barely fit it in the largest pot I own. In the future I think I could recreate this recipe and have the same flavor with about half the effort. I did d strain the soup for the photo, but that got old really quick and we ended up eating the majority of it unstrained and I honestly think it was better that way. Was it worth it?Absolutely, this soup had a really great multi layered flavor. Plus, with such a huge portion I will have lunch all week!

Squash Soup with Vanilla Creme Fraiche
from Top Chef

3 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
10 shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup miso stir
Salt and pepper

5 acorn
5 butternut
Oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper

Vegetable Stock:
4 quarts water
2 white onions
4 carrots, peeled
2 leeks
6-8 button mushrooms
Bouquet garnish (parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Creme fraiche
2 vanilla beans

Additional Ingredients:
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste

Spike & Andrew's recipe:

Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve one butternut head for garnish. Rub squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one piece of sage under every piece of squash. Place squash face down on a sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until done. Scoop flesh out and pass through a ricer.

Vegetable Stock:
In a pot, boil all ingredients together with the exception of the bouquet garnishes.

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Whip creme fraiche and scrape vanilla beans and fold in.

Combine squash and vegetable stock to desired consistency. Add mirepoix and cook. Blend with a vita prep and strain through a chinois. Season with salt and cayenne.

To Plate:
Add 6 ounces of soup in bowl and spoon in creme fraiche. Garnish with bouquet garnishes.


  1. love the swirls. :) glad you were liked the recipe after the initial disappointment.

  2. I agree with you about how the recipe was written. My husband really liked this, which is good, because it made a LOT of soup, even halved!

  3. When I actualy had freezer space I saved all the water from boiling vegtables and the scraps from any prepwork (it doesn't have to be pretty if you are tossing it out)and made my stock out of that. Love the swirls, wish I had the patience to something like that.

  4. I totally agree with you about the writing of the recipe and I DID watch top chef. I wonder if they don't have copy editors? And, I also agree about the veggies for stock. When it is vegetable stock we do compost them. I have blended them and use them as a base for curries...

  5. Wasn't this soup great! I didn't strain mine, so kudos to you for the effort. Your swirls are great. Your right, the recipe was not the easiest to follow.


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