Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe courtesy of The Bijou Café, Sarasota
2 large butternut squashes, about 2 lb each
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves, shredded
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Ground nutmeg, to taste
Pinch of sugar, if needed
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and prick each squash with the tip of a knife. Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and roast until a knife penetrates the skin easily, about an hour. Remove the squash from the oven and, when they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and fibers. Scoop the pulp into a bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and half of the sage. Cook while stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and squash pulp, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavours, then remove from the heat.
Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender or food processor, and return it to a clean saucepan. Alternatively, pass the soup through a food mill placed over the pan. Reheat gently over medium-low heat, and season with salt and pepper. If the squash is starchy rather than sweet, a little nutmeg will help. If the nutmeg does not give the proper flavour balance, add a pinch of sugar. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with whipped crème fraiche and the remaining sage.
In a skillet, add several tablespoons butter and flour to create a roux. Whisk in 1 1/3 cup chicken broth. Sautée onions and stir into sauce, adding a cup of cream, lemon juice, cayenne and salt to taste, or optional cognac and sherry – simmering for 30 minutes. Add blue crab and baby shrimp and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until heated and serve!