There are a few dishes that are now just platforms for a chef’s signature.  They have been done so many times that the standard simply will not do.  Any chef worth her salt would not serve a simple tomato and mozzarella pizza but would imprint her regional or stylistic mark on it.  Thin crust with arugula, pancetta and a fried egg anyone?

Butternut squash soup is like that.  The standard is pretty good and always welcome on a cold November day, but like a boneless chicken breast, there are a lot of directions one could go to make it a whole hellava lot more interesting.  To add a bit of texture so I don’t feel like I’m eating baby food I throw on some sautéed shitake mushrooms and crispy pepitas.  The addition that makes it a Runamok recipe, though, is a drizzle of cream that has been blended with Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup.  Just a touch sweet and smoky and oh, so creamy.  Take that, Anise-Spiced Squash Soup with Fennel Chips.

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sauteed Shitakes, Pepitas and Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Cream

 

1 onion, peeled and diced

vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 medium butternut squash that has been peeled, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 qt chicken stock

Salt and pepper

½ cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp Runamok Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup

4 or 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

A few Tbsp salted pepitas

In a large pot, heat about 2 Tbsp. oil and add the onions.  Let the onions sauté in the pan until just turning brown.  Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.  Add the squash, apple and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Let the soup cook until the squash is very tender.  Let cool a bit then put in a blender until smooth (you may need to add some water if it is too thick).  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper accordingly.

In a separate small skillet, heat about 1 Tbsp oil and add sliced shiitakes.  Cook until nicely browned and then season with salt.

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.  Let the cream reduce by half.  Remove from the heat and add the Smoked Maple Syrup and a pinch of salt.  Stir to blend.

When ready to serve, heat the soup and then ladle into a soup bowl.  Make a generous swirl of the maple cream then garnish with shitakes and pepitas.

 

 

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