Fresh-from-the-farm squash finds its way into several dishes at Sondra Bernstein’s restaurants during the autumn months.
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 small yellow onion, chopped
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• 1 medium carrot, chopped
• 1 large leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
• 2 shallots, chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
• salt and white pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 bunch fresh sage leaves, picked, for garnish
1. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, leek, shallots, and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Stir the vegetables occasionally to prevent browning.
2. Add the squash to the vegetables and stir.
3. Add 2 quarts of water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash is just tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Add the heavy cream and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Remove the vegetables from the heat and puree immediately in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5. Heat a small amount of blended oil to 300 degrees F and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Transfer the sage leaves to paper towels to drain and cool.
6. Ladle the soup into 6 bowls and garnish each with a few fried sage leaves.