One of the things I most look forward to about the fall is soup. My father can -- and does -- eat a bowl of hot soup for lunch 350 days out of the year. As I discovered on my honeymoon last year, in East Africa, it's typical to eat hot soup as a starter for nearly every meal, even if you're sitting outside in 95-degree weather. Me, I like to reserve my hot soup for cold weather.
Perhaps it's because some of my favorite soups revolve around quintessentially autumnal ingredients: root vegetables, dried beans, and especially winter squash. I've been making the same basic butternut squash soup for years, adding twists and tweaks as I see fit, and it never fails to satisfy me when a chill enters the air. It's smooth and creamy, the way I think squash soup should be, and it's the perfect thing to whip up over the weekend to have in your fridge all week long. This version relies on sherry for depth and a little intrigue -- if you don't have sherry on hand, you can skip it, or just substitute with brandy (Madeira would be nice) if you have some lying around.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
- 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons heay cream, plus more for serving
Photo by James Ransom