Serious Eats: Recipes

Seriously Meatless: Acorn Squash Soup with Brown Butter and Maple Yogurt

Serious Eater Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire.

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

Most winter squash soup recipes are either too sweet and filled with pumpkin pie spices or too overpowered with curry spices for my taste. The squash itself can be so delicious, I prefer to enhance it primarily with brown butter, which accentuates the rich, caramelized earthy flavors.

Butter consists of fat water and milk solids. The flavor of brown butter comes from cooking those milk solids until they, you guessed it, brown. It turns out you can dramatically enhance that flavor by adding a tablespoon of non-fat milk solids to the butter as you cook it. I first learned about this from Ideas In Food (who in turn got it from Cory Barrett at Lola Bistro in Cleveland) and it is pure genius. I'll never do it any other way again.

With a soup this simple, the details really matter. Be sure to get the squash deeply caramelized in the oven to develop its flavor, then puree and sieve the soup thoroughly to achieve a suave texture. The same general procedure will work with other winter squash such as butternut, sugar pumpkin, or delicata.

The soup is garnished with a bit of maple-syrup sweetened yogurt, which balances the squash and gives you just that little extra autumnal flavor.

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