Butternut squash + brown butter = taste bud love. And the squash also has an affinity for sage. I’m occasionally stumped with how to use the fragrant oil left behind after frying sage leaves, but I used that to my advantage in building a flavor base for this soup. This is a simple and economical way to make a relatively fast and flavorful soup. And for variation, try it with sugar pumpkins or acorn squash. Note that this can be made vegetarian by swapping out the chicken stock with a vegetable or mushroom stock. —BakerBren
1 hour 5 minutes
unsalted butter (+ a pat for later)
large sweet onion, diced
butternut squash, peeled, cubed, seeds reserved
large fresh sage leaves
malt vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
ground white pepper to taste
salt to taste, plus Maldon or similar finishing salt for garnishing
Preheat large (~5qt) enameled cast iron Dutch oven or similar heavy pot over medium heat. Melt 3Tbs butter. Once the butter is hot and frothy, add sage leaves in 2-3 batches, cooking each leaf for 20-30 seconds or until crisp, remove with chopsticks, large tweezers, or tongs. Drain cooked sage on a paper towel-lined plate and save for a garnish (crumble once cool). The butter should be fragrant and brown at this point. Add onions, white pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook briefly until onions are translucent. Add squash and another pinch of salt. Stir, pour in 1 cup of broth and quickly cover with the lid. Allow to steam 5-10 minutes then add the remaining stock. Replace the lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let simmer 30-45 minutes until squash is soft.
Meanwhile, clean the reserved squash seeds of any major pulp pieces and place them in a broiler-proof pan. Place a small pat of butter on top of seeds and sprinkle on a little salt and white pepper. Broil until seeds are brown, fragrant, and start popping (first stir in the butter once it melts after the initial heat of broiling). Allow seeds to cool and save for garnishing the soup.
When the squash is soft, finish the soup by removing the pot from the heat and pureeing until smooth with an immersion blender. Stir in vinegar. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and garnish the top with toasted squash seeds, crumbled fried sage leaves, and a sprinkling of Maldon or other finishing salt. Enjoy!