Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Cream of Butternut Squash Soup with Sea Scallops and Shrimp

Come Autumn, butternut squash is used a lot in our house.  Soup is a staple.  I've tasted many delicious butternut squash soups that are more on the sweet side, using apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. This one is a more savory recipe garnished with scallops and shrimp.

It's really easy; the majority of the labor is in chopping all the vegetables.

The squash, onion and garlic are all thrown into a Dutch oven.  I've also added a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, and bay leaf. For this soup I wrapped the herbs in cheese cloth because I didn't want flecks of the herbs in the soup. 

 After the chicken broth and cream are added to the pot it's all brought to a boil. Cover the pot and lit it simmer over reduced heat until the squash is tender.

 Discard the bouquet garni

In batches, puree in a blender or food processor.  With this batch I had to use my immersion blender because my blender broke and I sold my food processor in our estate sale.  It is at this point that you can make this soup as thick or thin as you like.  You can add chicken broth, milk,  or cream.

You can garnish the soup with anything you want; pepitaps, croutons, grated cheese, and on and on.  I opted for sauteéd scallops and shrimp sauteéd in butter.

Ladle into soup bowl, garnish and enjoy.

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 10 or more

3 pounds butternut squash
1 large yellow onion
1 large clove garlic
1-1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
3 sprigs flat leaf parsley
1 fresh sage leaf
1 large sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
 3-4 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
10 sea scallops
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
10 large shrimp
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Peel, seed and cube the squash and toss in a 5 to 6 quart Dutch Oven.  Chop onion and dice garlic and add to pot.  Add 3/4 tsp of the salt and pepper to the pot. 

In the center of a square piece of cheese cloth  bundle the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Roll the cheese cloth around the herbs and tie at each end and the middle with kitchen twine.  Throw into pot.

Pour the chicken broth and whipping cream into the pot. Stir to mix, cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Peel and de-vein the shrimp and set aside. Pat scallops dry on both sides and set aside.

In batches, pureé the mixture until smooth and return to pot.  Add additional broth or cream if you wish, depending on your desire of thickness of the soup. Keep soup warm.

For the scallops, preheat a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat.  Add 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.  When oil starts to smoke, add scallops to pan.  When scallops brown, turn over and turn off heat. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from skillet  to avoid overcooking.  Wipe out skillet.

Return skillet to medium heat and melt the unsalted butter until foaming subsides and the butter is golden brown   Add shrimp and sauté for 1-1/2 minutes on each side.

Ladle soup into soup bowls and garnish with the scallops and shrimp.