2000s Recipes + Menus

Butternut Squash Soup with Chestnuts

Serves 6 (first course)
  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:1 hr
September 2008
While eating at one of the coveted counter seats at Les Cocottes, Christian Constant’s chic restaurant, food editor Paul Grimes was deeply inspired by the pumpkin soup, which surprised him with savory little chunks of foie gras waiting at the bottom of the bowl. Here, Grimes explores squash’s more savory side by cooking it with a touch of tomato and providing that little bit of sweet surprise in the form of chopped chestnut. With just a dollop of whipped cream, it is rich only in looks and spirit—a spoonful will reveal how unbelievably light it is.

For more recipes inspired by the City of Light, visit our Paris City Guide.
  • 4 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 large thyme sprigs
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into (1-inch) cubes (about 31/2 cups)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 12 bottled cooked chestnuts, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Accompaniment:

    softly whipped cream
  • Cook shallots, carrot, celery, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf in oil in a 4- to 5-qt heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Add squash, water, nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and simmer, covered, until squash is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf.
  • Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Thin soup if desired and season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup over chestnuts in bowls.
Cooks’ note: Soup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered once cool. Thin slightly with water if necessary.
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