Monday, 1 December 2008

Recipes to Rival - Squash Soup with Vanilla Creme Fraiche

This month in Recipes to Rival, Meg of Joy Through Cooking chose Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche.
Here in Canada squash soup is almost a national dish, I do make it fairly often but was happy to try a new technique. This one had the addition of honey, miso and a vanilla bean crème fraiche which made it very tasty indeed.
I had been looking forward to making my own crème fraiche, I had a recipe from Dorie Greenspan where you just add one tablespoon of buttermilk to one cup of whipping cream. Shake well for one minute in a mason jar and let sit out for 24 hours. Then chill for 24 hours. After that you can add your flavourings (vanilla bean in this case) and whip. How easy is that?
My experience:
I halved the recipe - it makes a ton. The half made enough for 8 serving easily.
On day one I made the vegetable stock. I did it in the slow cooker on high for a few hours. (With the bouquet garni) Then strained. This is my favourite way to make stock - no babysitting the stove.
The next day I baked the squash and made the mirepoix. I added the stock right to the mirepoix and when it was hot, added the shredded squash. I used 2 squash, one butternut and one acorn. Squash are large here, almost 4lbs each. Two was plenty. I shredded them with a fork when they were cooked. When it was all heated through together, about 10 or so minutes later, I pureed it with my immersion blender.
I whipped the crème fraiche with the vanilla bean seeds and dolloped it on top of the hot soup. It started to melt fairly quickly, but it tasted very good. I haven't had vanilla in this type of savoury application before.
Hubby gave it 2 thumbs up. I was worried that he might be all souped out, but he said that they were different enough that he didn't feel overwhelmed at all. Such a good guinea pig, I mean man.

Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche
Prep Time: one hour and 30 minutes
Serves: more than 8
Spike & Andrew's recipe:

3 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
10 shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup miso stir
Salt and pepper

Squash:5 acorn, 5 butternut
Oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper
Vegetable Stock:
4 quarts water
2 white onions
4 carrots, peeled
2 leeks
6-8 button mushrooms
Bouquet garnish (parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Crème fraiche
2 vanilla beans
Additional Ingredients:
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste


Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve one butternut head for garnish. Rub squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one piece of sage under every piece of squash. Place squash face down on a sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until done. Scoop flesh out and pass through a ricer.

Vegetable Stock:
In a pot, boil all ingredients together with the exception of the bouquet garnishes. (NOTE: allow to simmer for at least 1 hour)

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Whip crème fraiche and scrape vanilla beans and fold in.

Combine squash and vegetable stock to desired consistency. Add mirepoix and cook. Blend with a vita prep and strain through a
cheesecloth. Season with salt and cayenne.
To Plate:
Add 6 ounces of soup in bowl and spoon in crème fraiche. Garnish with bouquet garnishes.

Check out the Recipes to Rival Blogroll to see how the others fared.