What’s Cooking: Butternut Squash Soup

While South County might be known for its summer fare, seasonal food is equally good in the fall and winter months. As you are putting your garden to bed, take advantage of all the root vegetables and stone fruits showing up at farmers markets. Stop in and see your local fishmonger and luxuriate in the day boat fish that we are fortunate to have all year long. When you eat out head to spots that share the farm to table, sea to table philosophy. Your food will taste so much better if you do.

At Weekapaug Inn, Chef Devin Bozkaya’s fall menu embodies autumn with a fresh take on some seasonal favorites. Known for cuisine which showcases the unique history, products and flavors of Rhode Island and the Atlantic Coast Region, the Inn works closely with local growers, farmers and fishmongers to provide products for the property’s seasonal menu.

This season, from the fields and orchards you will find Parsnip & Pear Velouté featuring local Narragansett Creamery whipped ricotta and spiced honey croutons. Innkeeper Simon Dewar says, “It is silky and light with a taste of fall.” From the mill comes Scallop Risotto created using seared Stonington scallops, local butternut squash, pancetta lardons and New England Coulommiers cheese. With other dishes such as Northeast Family Farms NY Strip, Narragansett Lobster Fricassee or Crescent Farms Duck Breast served with celery root puree, The Restaurant at Weekapaug Inn has seasonal comfort food covered.

When creating the fall menu for The Restaurant, Bozkaya says he is generally inspired by the ingredients. He lets the ingredients speak for themselves and then allows the simplicity of those ingredients to ignite inspiration to create something wonderful. He says this then leads to a multitude of questions from how to cook them, what to pair them with, what to contrast them with, how the consistency should be, and so on. Sometimes the inspiration comes from a dish he has tried at another restaurant and the desire to evolve it, sometimes it’s from a conversation with the team about techniques and flavor combinations which in turn inspire new dishes.  Wherever the inspiration may come from, when specifically thinking of the fall, he thinks of transition, change and contrast. He is inspired by contrasting flavors like sweet and bitter and hot and cold such as quickly wilted fall greens with hot vinaigrettes, and smoky chilies with sweet pumpkins and squashes.

His favorite fall vegetable? “My go-to vegetable in the fall is butternut squash. It can be prepared in so many different applications. I love the sweetness. It’s a fall gourd that can stand up on its own, or compliment a main dish. It can be roasted, sautéed, made into soup with apples. It is also great for grilling with smokey chilies. The outer peels are great for coloring and flavoring stocks to cook pasta in. My favorite spice of all is nutmeg, and it certainly shines in the fall in many of my purees and soups.”

Bozkaya shares his favorite recipe for Butternut Squash Soup, which he hopes you will try at home.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

8 oz Spanish Onion, thinly sliced

2.5 lbs. Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and large diced

8 oz  Sweet Potato, peeled and large diced

8 oz  Carrots, peeled and large diced

1 Stick butter

4 cups Heavy Cream

2.5 cups Vegetable Stock

1 Sprig of Sage

 

FINISHING

Salt

Cayenne Pepper

Maple Syrup

Sherry Vinegar

 

METHOD

In a large stock pot add 1 stick of butter and melt until the milk solids start the brown slightly. Add the onions only and cook until they start to turn translucent.

Add the rest of the cut vegetables and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes until the edges of the vegetables begin to break down.

Add the heavy cream, vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are mash-able with a fork. Add the sage and simmer for 8 more minutes. Begin pureeing the mixture in a high powered blender or food processor until smooth. For smoother texture, pass through a fine meshed strainer.

To finish the soup, season to taste with salt, cayenne, a drizzle of maple syrup and sherry vinegar.

Hungry for more? Discover the winter flavors in The Restaurant and make a reservation today!