Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

14 10 2010

Life is finally assembling itself into something that I could really dig thanks to a nice blend of cosmic settling and personal ambition. Ryan and I secured a winter rental in East Falmouth in the gorgeous home of a traveling couple who are off to Costa Rica from January – July. And I must say, this place is a dream come true, amenities & price-wise. We’re really excited. It’s giving us a chance to play out our youths a bit longer, ice cream for breakfast, sex on the counters whiskey bottle in hand sort of thing. But I think it’s also going to open up a creative wormhome, in that it’s going to give us endless time and space to work on things like our writing and music. Oh and did I mention the kitchen ?? Maybe some other time.

Anyways. In celebration, I’ve made this soup in hopes that I’ll be making similar soups like this in our new home. Nothing could bring a bigger smile to my face than the smell of roasting squash mixed with ginger and sage permeating my new walls. It’s so comforting. Tastes like velvet winter.

Some things got changed. I mixed up thyme with oregano when digging through drying herbs. Not sure how that happened. But I suppose that’s ok seeing as how thyme isn’t one of my favorite spices. Also, in my search for a good chunk of Gruyere cheese, I came across an Applewood Smoked Gruyere. Using plain Gruyere would be fine, but holy crap am I lucky to have found this. The smokiness brings out so many new flavors from the soup. Whole new level. So if you happen to stumble across it as well, good god man purchase that cheese.

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Soup:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 14 1/2-oz cans vegetable broth
4 cups 1-in. pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs, check out the already peeled versions in supermarkets)
4 cups 1-in. pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lbs; incredibly tricky to peel; cut in half, scoop out seeds and throw into an oven at 425 degrees until soft, then just scoop it out into pot)
1 1/4 tsps. minced fresh sage
1 1/4 tsps. minced fresh thyme (or oregano! hah. really, both are good. Whatever you have)
1 1/2 tsps. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 cup whipping cream

Croutons:
2 tbs. (1/4 stick butter)
1 baguette loaf, sliced 1/4-in. thick
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or oregano…)
1 tsp. minced fresh sage

For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.

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