Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Gold nugget squash is a dry, sweet squash which makes for a rich, silky soup when puréed. It is quite dry, so you may find that you need to add a little more broth than this recipe calls for (or whipping cream, if that is how you roll). This recipe comes from the consistently excellent Smitten Kitchen. As Perelman suggests below, you will certainly want to bake the gold nugget and scoop out the flesh rather than trying to peel it’s tough outer rind. I would substitute the gold nugget for the acorn in the recipe below, rather than using all Gold Nugget.
Serves 8
Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 1996
via http://www.smittenkitchen.com
Soup

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ~44 oz. low-salt chicken broth (or homemade)
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 cup whipping cream

Croutons

  • 2 T (1/4 stick) butter
  • 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 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.
*If you are not confident in your knife skills or lack a very, very sharp one, I’d suggest roasting the squash, halved and seeded, on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil at 425 until soft, scooping it into the pot, and cooking it the rest of the way there. Peeling, seeding and chopping raw squash is not the easiest endeavor.

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