By Michael Somerby EBS STAFF
When it comes to home cooking, there are just two elemental secrets to coaxing a dish into something that truly satisfies hungry gastrophiles.
The first is to choose seasonally appropriate ingredients and flavors. You wouldn’t want to be the chump serving watermelon with shredded mint and feta on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve.
And two, butter (oil, if you must) and salt the hell out of it.
Those two components help to explain why everything from a Michelin Star dinner to junk food always seems to hit with more flavor and zeal than most people’s home cooking; many of us are, for health reasons, afraid to incorporate butter and salt to the degrees a professional chef does regularly.
But unless you have a legitimate reason to abstain from the dynamic duo, don’t take it from me, take it from legendary and intrepid chef Julia Childs: “With enough butter, anything is good.”
Couple this with her long-held credo that cream, salt and butter are essential to good cooking, and you have all the motivation you need to give the maligned materials a chance.
Cue butternut squash soup, a synthesis of a popular winter squash ripened to perfection by early fall chills, plenty of salty, savory poultry undertones, cream and, you guessed it, a modest pile of butter. Some might knock simpler renditions of butternut squash soup as too bland, and fair enough—this is Montana, after all, so toss in some choice bits of sausage with a few extras for a striking dose of carnivore-nourishing flavor.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 white mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 pound ground Italian-style sausage
- 3 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Ground pepper, to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the chopped onions and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent
- Add the butternut squash, butter, herb sprigs, salt and chicken stock, and cover and bring to a boil
- Reduce the boil to a simmer, and allow to cook for 35-40 minutes
- Remove the sprigs
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a blender, and purée
- Return vegetable purée to pot and stir until thoroughly mixed with the leftover stock
- Stir in the cream
- Set the temperature to low, and cover
- In a separate pan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and mushrooms in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, occasionally stirring for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned and tender
- Transfer to soup mixture
- In the same pan over medium heat, cook the sausage for 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned, manually breaking it down into chunks and crumbles
- Transfer to soup mixture and stir well, salting and peppering as needed
- Allow to reduce to the desired thickness