Food porn

Can a recipe be sexy? Funny? A member of Salon's reader community, Table Talk, takes up the challenge via squash soup, and the result is sublime.

Published January 11, 2008 10:34AM (EST)

House and Garden

Questions for the Cook: Golden Brown and Delicious

bbudke - 08:17 pm Pacific Time - Jan 8, 2008 - #4013 of 4071

Butternut Squash Soup

I sort of made this up as I went tonight, and the end result was shockingly good, so I'm writing it down in hopes that I won't forget what I did. Speaking of shocking, there are obscene amounts of butter and cream in this, so if that sort of thing puts you off, avert your gaze.

That said, in 4 tablespoons of butter, slowly cook three thinly sliced leeks until they are limp. I threw about a half-teaspoon of salt in at this point. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and 6 cups of cubed butternut squash. Because I was using homemade unsalted chicken broth, I added a little more salt here. Bring to a slow boil, and boil uncovered for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.

While the soup is boiling, begin sautéing 4 italian sausage links. Cook until their skins are well-browned, and internal temperature reaches at least 160°. When sausages are done cooking, chop coarsely and set aside.

When the soup begins thickening to the point where it begins that annoying splattery blorping, it's ready to be pureed. I used an immersion blender, but a regular blender would be fine, too. Or a food processor. Only, for the love of mike (and the lack of third-degree soup burns), small batches of hot liquid in enclosed spaces, please! After I blended it, because I read the French Laundry cookbook and Thomas Keller is now my zombie master, I put the soup through a fine strainer. It may have been overkill, but the texture was amazingly silky.

I returned the puree to the pot, and poured in a cup of heavy cream. Take that, arteries! I then added a whole lot of fresh ground pepper (you could use white pepper if you were concerned about little black specks in your pristine puree), a couple of shakes of Frank's Red Hot, about 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg, and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Taste, and keep adjusting seasoning until your eyes roll back into your head from butternut soup bliss.

Pour soup into bowls. Over each serving, crumble an ounce of chevre. Drop chopped sausage over the top of that. If I were going to take a picture for food porn purposes, I might tell it to lick its lips, and then sprinkle a little chopped chive over the top.

Serves 4. Tonight, it served 2, but honestly, we were both ridiculously full by the end of the meal. Serving four would have been much more realistic. Maybe with a nice green salad. With Lipitor dressing.

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