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Butternut Porcini Soup

2 2 1/2 lb. butternut or other winter squash, halved and seeded
3/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (any kind)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp. dried sage
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tbsp. soy sauce
pinch of ground nutmeg

4 garlic cloves
8 thin slices French bread from baguette

Pre heat oven to 400.  Place squash halves cut side down in a baking dish.  Bake squash
until tender, about 50 minutes.  Cool squash.  Scoop out the flesh and transfer to a food
processor.  Puree until squash is smooth.  Set aside.  Place porcini mushrooms in a bowl
and cover with 2 cups of boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes.  Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil
in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. 
Add fresh mushrooms, minced garlic, sage and thyme.  Sautee for 5 more minutes.  Add
squash puree, apple juice, 1 cup water, sherry, soy sauce and nutmeg.  Simmer soup for
10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer porcini mushrooms to soup.  Simmer 10 more
minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Pre heat broiler.  Combine 4 garlic cloves and remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil in a blender until
garlic is in very small pieces.  Brush bread with the garlic oil.  Broil bread, garlic side up
until golden brown.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with garlic bread.


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