Last week I decided to finally attempt to reproduce the soup I loved from a restaurant where I used to work. I am not generally a fan of squash but this soup was divine, a perfect balance of flavors. Luckily I am still in touch with the one of the chefs that worked at that now closed restaurant. I had been planning this for a while. I had the props bought to photograph the finished product which included a bowl, plate and place mat from Crate and Barrel and a spoon from World Market. Of course the day I planned to make it I needed a couple more ingredients from an Asian Market. Luckily I found one nearby. It was located near a Homeplace and I decided to go in there first to see if some of the simpler spices I was missing might be in there. I found some great Himalayan salt there a few weeks ago which will get its own photo shoot sometime soon. This pit stop also gave me an excuse to look at more dinnerware which has become a small addiction of mine. Of course I found some items I liked possibly even more than the items I got from Crate and Barrel. Never thought I would say that but there you go. One more stop after the Asian market at Target to get a strainer because this soup would need pureeing and then straining. I do not have one of these fancy contraptions that you put in a few whole tomatoes and then Presto, Blamo a fine puree is made after a few spins of a handle. My method worked just fine, though it did create quite a mess.
Now though I did get the ingredients from my chef friend, quantities were not discussed and the cooking sequence was quickly spouted by him (he was in between shifts). I scribbled them as best I could in my little orange notebook of “thoughts”. The appropriate amounts of each ingredient I derived from other recipes online and special technique I like to call “guessing” followed by experimenting. I figure I have it in me since my mother does not use recipes. At the end of this post I will include what ingredients are needed and what I did, followed by what I think I need to do differently next time. Now for some images of the event.
First ingredient is of course a glass of wine for the chef. Because a happy chef makes great food:). That day I decided to adorn my glass with my elephant wine charm because I like elephants and its pretty (not because I was drinking from two glasses).
My little orange book of thoughts where I input things I don’t want to forget that I don’t want to input into my iphone.
I just love this slate board. I found it at World Market for a steal!
The following are the actually soup in the bowls I found. I have come to realize that I just love Portuguese stoneware because almost all plates I like are made with this:
-Onion, celery (I did not use this because I do not like this), ginger (grated),carrot and of course butternut squash. I added garlic though it was not part of the equation.
-Thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns (don’t have to be whole), clove, cardamom (the best spice ever), cinnamon, brown sugar,.
-Sambal (or Sriraccha), chicken stock, heavy cream
-Cook all the produce except the ginger and spices in chicken stock. I did this for 30 min but that was too long. I did not have enough liquid left. Had to add more stock.
-Next add heavy cream and reduce by 1/4 to 1/2.
-Then remove the bay leaf and puree ingredients. Add hot sauce of choice and grated ginger here. Adding ginger add end keeps the kick. Cooking it would take it away.
-Now comes the messy straining portion of this recipe.
-I was told to thicken the result with roux but my result was too thick so I actually had to thin it out with more chicken stock.
Things I would do differently would be to use less clove, I chose equal portions of each spice. I should know better. I would use less brown sugar. I used two tablespoons for 32 oz of butternut squash. And of course not cook the squash for so long so I can retain more liquid.