Friday, March 19, 2010

Mochi's Recipe of the Week: Butternut Squash Soup

Hello my lovelies! Mochi here with round two of "recipe of the week," improved with the addition of pictures! Our recipe this time is a very delicious soup made with butternut squash. Once again, the recipe hails from, my favorite online recipe database.

I've made similar soups in the past, but this recipe calls for the inclusion of star anise, which is something I hadn't considered in the past. It makes sense, though; butternut squash is naturally sweet, and anise boosts the sweetness, adding richness to the otherwise savory soup.

Here's what you'll need:

1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2/3 cup chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (5 cups)
4 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

To prepare:
Cook shallot, garlic, and anise in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Add squash, stock, and water and simmer, uncovered, until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove star anise.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) until very smooth, about 1 minute per batch, then transfer to cleaned pan and keep warm, covered.

I couldn't find whole star anise, so I got pure anise extract from the spice aisle instead. I also added one medium-sized sweet onion and about one to two cups of mushrooms. The recipe on epicurious calls for shrimp as well, but I made this soup for a friend who was recently hospitalized and can't eat meat for the time being. Another change I made was to add a dollop of Greek yogurt for an extra creamy tang. As suggested, I garnished with a sprig of cilantro.