Published September 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
Forget cream and spices. The secret to squashier squash soup is concentration.
Butternut squash soup rarely tastes like butternut squash. Most recipes mask its flavor with an overload of cream, stock, and potent herbs or spices, or they don’t find a way to concentrate the squash, which is full of water.
We wanted a quick soup recipe with deep, roasted-squash flavor—without using the oven.
We knew that the key to achieving deep squash flavor was going to be creating the thickest fond we could. We’d done that in past recipes by cooking ingredients down in a Dutch oven on the stovetop until they formed a rich, dark fond at the bottom of the pan. But cooking down waterlogged squash would take all day—unless we could find a way to jump-start the cooking. To do that, we placed the peeled chunks in a bowl, covered them, and microwaved them. We then drained off the liquid (reserving it to add to the soup later) and piled the lot, along with some leeks, into the Dutch oven, in which we had melted some butter. Soon, much of the moisture from the squash had cooked off, and a thick brown fond had developed on the bottom of the pot.
We used a combination of water and vegetable broth for our cooking liquid and found that thyme, a bay leaf, and cayenne complemented the squash without overpowering it.list of recipes