I remember watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Network, back when he was the Naked Chef. Well, he wasn’t actually naked, which is why I wasn’t surprised when they changed the name of his show (or did they just start a new one) called Oliver’s Twist. Anyway, he would “strip down” recipes so that they were really just the essentials of cooking. No fancy gadgets or ingredients, just great homemade food. Now he’s never on the Food Network anymore, and I don’t get the Cooking Channel, so I never see him on TV. I can’t even watch the reruns of his show Jamie at Home. But I can still get most of the recipes on the Food Network website, which makes me happy. His recipes are simple and tasty, and he doesn’t use any gross ingredients; it’s mostly natural, earthy food. His recipes really bring out the essential flavors of the main ingredients.
And this is why I was so excited to make this soup recipe. I love Jamie Oliver and I love butternut squash! It’s definitely my favorite winter squash, even though it’s a pain to peel and chop. Everything else about it is just perfect, an my favorite way to eat it is in soup form. Something about butternut squash soup just makes me smile.
Sage is a classic combination with butternut squash, and infusing the oil with that flavor imparts a wonderful undertone to the soup. The sage on top adds a great crispiness. I ate a lot of those sage chips before serving the soup. Oops. Hence the lack of crispy sage on top of the soup in the picture. It’s delicious with a teaspoon of sour cream mixed in, too. Just so you know.
Superb squash soup, adapted from Jamie Oliver (serves 8):
- 16 fresh sage leaves
- 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds taken out and chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- Extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat large saucepan over medium heat and pour in some olive oil, enough to cover the bottom.
2. When it’s hot, throw in the sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds, until crispy. Remove with a slitted spoon and drain on paper-towel lined plate.
3. Add your celery, onion, and carrot, garlic, and jalapeno to the pot. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
4. Add the squash and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. When the squash is soft, blend the soup using an immersion blender until you have a smooth puree (or as chunky as you like it).
6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle the sage leaves on top.
7. Serve with croutons if you want (that’s how Jamie Oliver did it).