Tag Archives: chicken broth

Roasted & Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Spring is almost here—and while I am thrilled about the weather warming up, the longer days, and the return of birds and squirrels and chipmunks, I’m not quite ready to stop enjoying hearty, comforting winter fare quite yet. So today I made this soothing soup with roasted butternut squash, a hint of ginger and nutmeg, and a swirl of sour cream. The flavors are rich and deep, but the soup itself very low in fat and calories, and quite filling.

Be careful with the amount of ginger you use, as it really lends the soup an unmistakable spicy note; too much will take the soup from soothing to jarring!!

Serves 2

For the squash:

  • ½ pound peeled butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water, plus extra as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 sage leaves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup 2% milk, plus extra as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Make the squash: Preheat the oven to 350° (preferably set on convection bake). Toss all the ingredients for the squash on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. Add a bit of water if the squash is drying out or browning too much before becoming tender.

When the squash is tender, puree the squash, shallot, and ginger (along with any liquid on the baking sheet) until very smooth using a blender or food processor. Slowly pour in the broth and milk. Season with the salt and pepper and puree again.

Transfer to a pot and heat over a medium flame until the soup thickens to the consistency you like and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

To serve: Ladle the soup into 2 bowls. Garnish each with dollops of sour cream and drag a toothpick through each sour cream dollop to swirl a pretty pattern through it. Serve immediately.


Escarole and Egg Soup with Pesto and Crispy Pancetta

Soup: comfort in a bowl. In the winter, we eat soup at least once a day. Most of the time, we crave vegetable soups, full of chunky bits of goodness, with something to thicken the broth up: it can be a crushed potato, beans, or a roux. The soup below, thickened with beaten eggs, is a play on the spinach soup my husband grew up eating at home: his father Attilio cooked down spinach in broth until silky soft, then stirred in plenty of Parmigiano and beaten eggs just before serving. Here we use escarole instead of spinach, top it with crispy Pancetta for texture and meaty depth, add a squeeze of lemon juice to the eggs to lighten the flavor, and stir in pesto at the very end to brighten things up. Serve this soup with bread and salad, and you have a memorable meal fit for a chilly day indoors.

Serves 2
For the pesto:

  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves (about 1/2 large bunch)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 ounce (1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the soup:

  • 1 ounce Pancetta, defatted and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • water as needed
  • 1 head escarole (about 1 pound), washed thoroughly and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Make the pesto: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a fine paste; there may be some little basil strands here and there, because there is very little oil in this pesto, but that is fine. The purpose of this pesto is to lend flavor to the soup, not to make the soup creamy in texture, so a semi-chunky texture is fine. Remove to a bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on top of the pesto to prevent darkening. This can be done up to 2 hours before serving. Hold at room temperature until needed.

Make the soup: Place the Pancetta in a 2-quart pot. Set over medium heat and cook until the Pancetta is crispy and lightly golden, about 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Place the olive oil, onion, and garlic in the same pot in which you cooked the Pancetta. Set over medium heat and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often and adding a bit of water if needed to prevent scorching, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the escarole and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring often, until wilted and collapsed, about 8 minutes. Add the broth, season with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the escarole is silky and the soup smells rich and deep. The soup can be made up to this point 2 hours before serving and held at room temperature. Reheat when needed to the boiling point.

When you are ready to serve, beat the eggs with the lemon juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Return the soup to a boil. Pour in the eggs and let sit, undisturbed, until the eggs set, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir gently once or twice, being careful to leave the eggs in large fluffy clouds, swirl in the pesto, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve hot, topped with the crispy Pancetta.


Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Roasted Shiitake & Speck

We love Jerusalem artichokes. With a flavor reminiscent of truffles and aged cheese, they lend themselves to all manner of preparations. One of our favorite ways to enjoy their distinct aroma is in soup, and the recipe below, a recent creation, is especially soothing on a chilly day.

Serves 2

For the soup:

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half

For the shiitake:

  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 2 thin slices Speck, cut into fine slivers

Make the soup: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart pot. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes over medium heat, or until soft, stirring often and adding a splash of water if needed to prevent sticking. Stir in the Jerusalem artichokes and artichokes, season with the salt and pepper, cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring once in a while and adding a splash of water as needed if the vegetables stick.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are thoroughly coated in flour and the raw flour smell has dissipated. Add the broth, still stirring, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft and the soup is thick.

Meanwhile, make the shiitake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (preferably set on convection). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toss the shiitake with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and somewhat shriveled, stirring once or twice for even browning. Set aside.

Being careful not to burn or splash yourself, puree the soup in a blender in several batches. Return to the pan. Stir in the half-and-half, adjust the seasoning, and serve hot, garnishing each portion with the shiitake and Speck.