Try to make this soup in the fall when squash is freshly picked and you will be rewarded with the creamy, sweet flavors of autumn. You know you have a fresh squash when you cut it and the flesh on the cut side instantly beads with moisture. Squash soups are so comforting with their rich, smooth texture. And if that weren’t enough, they are also a powerhouse of nutrition and loaded with antioxidants and beta carotene. The nutty flavor of freshly grated nutmeg in the unsweetened whipped cream is a lovely compliment to this sweet butternut squash soup.Serves 6
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup onion diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup whipping cream, cold, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Dash ground nutmeg
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the salt, pepper, coriander and thyme and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken or vegetable stock and the orange juice and simmer the soup, covered over low heat until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, food processor or blender.
Add 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to the soup. Taste the soup for seasoning and make adjustments if necessary with salt, pepper, ground nutmeg and cayenne.
Add the remaining chilled 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to the bowl of a mixer and beat until soft peaks form in the cream. Add the nutmeg and combine well. Refrigerate the Nutmeg Cream if not using immediately.
Ladle the soup into heated bowls and top with a dollop of the nutmeg cream.