La Soupe Qui Chauffe au Potimarron

This soup will warm you up no matter the temperature outside. I make it with just about any squash at hand, including Musquée de Provence, or Fairytail Squash. As for chestnuts, I have a confession to make — I often use vacuum packed chestnuts when they go into soup. I know, they don’t offer the flavor of fresh, but they do offer great convenience and a big lot of flavor.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 pounds (2kg) squash, seeds removed, peeled, cut in large dice

2 star anise

Fine sea salt

8 ounces (250g) cooked, peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped

Hot paprika or Piment d’Espelette

½ cup (125ml) heavy cream – optional

  1. Place the butter and oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over low heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the squash and stir, then just cover the squash with filtered water. Add the star anise and season with salt — about ½ teaspoon. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce the heat so the water is simmering and cook for 20 minutes. Add half the chestnuts to the soup, stir, and continue cooking until the squash and the chestnuts are tender, which will take a total time for the squash of 30 to 45 minutes, and for the chestnuts about 20 minutes. It is difficult to overcook either vegetable — you do need to check the water level, though, and add a bit more if the squash is drying out.
  2. Finely chop the remaining chestnuts.
  3. When the vegetables are cooked, remove the star anise, and puree them. Taste for seasoning, adding hot paprika to taste. If the puree is very, very thick you may add a bit more water to loosen it, or even a bit of heavy cream but not too much. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. Stir in the remaining chestnuts and let them cook until they are hot through, which should take about 5 minutes. Evenly divide the soup among six bowls, and serve.

6 servings

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