This is our favorite Fall/Winter Soup. Coming off the end of fall vegetable harvest, I purchase as many fresh butternut squash from my local producer as I have room to store. If it lasts into February, I’ll make and serve it for Valentine’s Day. See below for the story of where I got the recipe.
- 2 oz. unsalted butter
- 2 medium sized butternut squash
- 3 leeks
- 2 onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 oz. Sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 bottle your favorite ale
- 1 ½ lb organic chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 10 large basil leaves extra for garnish
Peel onions, garlic and squash and roughly chop. Chop leeks and wash thoroughly.
Melt butter in Dutch oven (or large saucepan) over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, leeks and squash. Season with salt and pepper. Gently sauté for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add half the ale and cover for 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
Pick basil leaves, wash and pat dry with a cloth. Tie with string, bruise slightly with a mortar and pestle and add to soup. (*See note)
Simmer soup until squash is soft, remove basil stems and puree with an immersion blender (or carefully in batches in a blender).
Add the rest of the ale and most of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Chiffonade basil. Serve soup and garnish with remaining cheese and basil.
*If you don't have a mortar and pestle, place basil in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin, or similar heavy kitchen utensil, pound the basil to bruise it.
Although I was unable to attend some good friends’ wedding in Helsinki, Finland back in 2004, they still gifted me my wedding favor. It was a cookbook with ‘a collection of tastes and memories from family and friends’. This soup recipe started from one in that cookbook.
I’ve made a few adjustments over the years, especially because I’m not in Canada and don’t have access to the ale mentioned in the original recipe. I enjoy trying out different local Nebraska beers in it.