Mushrooms and squash have a real affinity and this soup proves it. I like to use oyster mushrooms, but chanterelles, which I found at the supermarket this week, provide the best flavour.
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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 butternut squash cut in half, about 2 pounds (1 kilogram)
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
¼ cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces (60 grams) pancetta or regular bacon, about 2 slices
4 ounces (115 grams) chanterelles, torn into pieces
8 sage leaves, fried in a little oil until crispy
Preheat oven to 450 F. Oil a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place squash, cut-side down. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until squash is soft and caramelized at the edges. Scrape flesh out and reserve (you should have about 2 cups).
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to soup pot. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add thyme, sage, cayenne, chicken stock and squash.
Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Purée soup until smooth in food processor. Return to pot, stir in cream and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Reheat when needed.
Heat oil in skillet and fry bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble bacon. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon oil. Add mushrooms to skillet over medium high heat and sauté until browned and juice has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Serve soup garnished with bacon, mushrooms and fried sage leaves.