Northside SF
La vita delizioso
Five key items for making perfect pureed soups
I love creamy soups. Not only are they warm and satisfying during cold winter months, they’re also a snap to make. There are five key things you need – three ingredients and two pieces of equipment – to create a perfect pureed soup every time: butter, olive oil, onions, a large cast-iron enameled Dutch oven or sturdy stock pot, and a stick blender.

You may be wondering, what about the cream? While milk or cream will enhance the rich flavor and silky texture, they’re not necessary for making a delicious pureed soup (leaving them out also cuts down the fat and calories).

You can get by without a stick blender too, but that means dumping the soup in batches into a food processor or a blender. You can get a quality stick blender for less than $30, so it’s a great tool to add to your cooking arsenal – it makes creamy soup a one-pot meal (always a good thing) and lessens the chance you’ll wind up with hot liquid all over your kitchen (or yourself).

Here is my recipe for creamy three squash soup (one of my fall/winter favorites), but I also use the “key five” to make other creamy cold-weather soups like potato-leek, broccoli, kale, celery root, carrot-ginger, and wild mushroom. In the spring and summer, I use the same method to make cream of heirloom tomato, snap pea, English pea, asparagus, and spinach. (If you would like any of my other creamy soup recipes, please send an e-mail to If you’re a fan of cheesy, creamy soups like broccoli cheese or potato cheese, stir in a cup of freshly grated cheddar or Gruyère (or a mix of both) just before serving.

Creamy three squash soup
Serves 4

Tips: Cutting butternut squash requires a big, sharp knife and a sharp vegetable peeler – if you don’t feel comfortable peeling and cutting the squash, you can find it already prepped at many markets. You can also put it in the microwave or oven to soften as I recommend with the acorn. I prefer using a can of pumpkin puree because prepping fresh pumpkin is time-consuming and messy, but if you feel inspired, go for it!

1 medium acorn squash
1 large butternut squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mixture)
3 cups turkey, chicken or vegetable broth (homemade if possible)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk or 1 cup half-and-half or 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Freshly grated Gruyère
cheese for garnish (optional)
Roughly chopped flat-leaf
(Italian) parsley for garnish (optional)

Poke holes in the acorn squash and microwave (or oven bake) until soft. While acorn squash is cooling, peel and cut the butternut squash into chunks.

Heat the butter and oil in a large cast-iron enameled Dutch oven (or heavy stock pot) over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Cut the cooled acorn squash in half and scoop the flesh into the pot. Add pumpkin puree, butternut squash chunks, stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender.

Turn down heat to low, and use a stick blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Add the milk, half-and-half, or cream, if using, and stir until incorporated and warmed through, about 15 seconds.

Garnish with Gruyère cheese and parsley if desired.


March 2012
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