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  • Writer's pictureFay Walsh

Butternut squash soup with browned butter

A dish inspired by Chef Thomas Keller.

I know nothing about squash, but the local bounty on display here in Pound Ridge was something to marvel at. I grabbed a big, bright one - a brighter the color yields a riper squash. This little veggie is also loaded with health benefits including fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and B, and contains minerals such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium.

For more information on different squash and flavor profiles, check out this helpful article from What's Cooking America on Types of Squash.

The Very Best Autumnal Soup

I'm here to tell you that working with butternut squash is way less intimidating than you think – it's surprisingly easy! Once you get past the carving, seeding, and roasting bit, the soft fleshly pulp is super fun and easy to work with.

Plan Ahead

For those who like to prepare ahead, the soup can be prepared a day or two earlier, chilled, and simply reheated when the time to serve. Day of, that's one less thing to worry about!

Use Your Vitamix

A Vitamix is required for this recipe; I used the "hot soup" setting to pulverize and heat up the soup once removed from the fridge. If you don't own a Vitamix, I don't believe a food processor will achieve this recipe's right consistency. Some may consider the blender a splurge, but I instead see my Vitamix as an essential asset to a well-rounded kitchen... so you may want to explore the investment for your kitchen as well: Shop Vitamix.


Butternut squash soup with browned butter

by Thomas Keller

recipe adapted by Amanda Hesser for The New York Times

  • 1 3-to-3 1/2-pound butternut squash

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 sprigs sage

  • ½ cup thinly sliced carrots

  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots

  • ½ cup thinly sliced onions

  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 6 cups vegetable stock, more if needed

  • Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves

  • ¼ cup crème fraîche

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each (I didnt have fresh sage so I used dried sage). Place cut-side-down onto a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for an hour (this move is counterintuitive). Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, tossing the sage.

  2. Peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh (a pairing knife works well here). Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (should yeild about 4 cups).

  3. Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes. Add the diced squash, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring (careful not to burn the squash here). Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.

  4. Reduce to a simmer, cooking for at least half an hour allowing the flavors to fully incorporate. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and purée. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste for seasoning and make your adjustments. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

***(Proceed to Optional Extra Credit below if you want to be super fancy)***

***Optional Extra Credit***

  1. Place the crème fraîche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the crème fraîche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more vegetable stock. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. When it is very hot, add the butter and rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle in the bottom. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup -- keep a safe distance, it may sputter -- then stir.

  3. Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraîche. Grind some black pepper over the top (I used a mortar - its amazing). Drizzle a little olive oil as a garnish for a wow presentation.

The recipe is adapted slightly from its original publication for the purposes of this blog (mainly removing the leeks and cooking the squash all in one go). Discover the original recipe at The New York Times.

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Nov 17, 2020

Ps this is Christiaan!


Nov 17, 2020

Brilliant post, beautiful design, thoughtfully written and great images! Most of all... sounds delish, I want some!


Sheila Grauer Fay
Sheila Grauer Fay
Nov 17, 2020

Just bought a butternut squash yesterday at Spuds....I guess I know what to do with it now! Soup looks delicious!

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