A clever way to stimulate the taste buds and add a salty-umami depth to a recipe is to add Parmesan cheese. Here, Parmesan rind is simmered with chicken stock and naturally sweet sautéed onions and butternut squash. The stock and Parmesan cheese give the soup a delicate savory-sweet taste, while the sweetness of the vegetables is reduced a little by crème fraîche. The chili adds a sensory kick. The result is a sweet-savory soup that makes a satisfying light main course, since it contains no bitterness and little sourness.
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes or to taste (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium butternut squash
4-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh parsley
piece of Parmesan cheese rind
1/2 cup crème fraîche
salt and freshly ground black pepper
roughly shaved Parmesan cheese to serve
1. Gently fry the onions, garlic and chili flakes in the olive oil in a large saucepan for about 10 minutes, or until soft and golden, Meanwhile, cut off the tough skin of the butternut squash. Scrape out and discard the seeds, then roughly chop the flesh and stir it into the sautéed onions. Cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash begins to soften.
2. Add the stock, herbs and Parmesan rind and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the squash is meltingly soft. Discard the herbs and Parmesan rind, scraping any gooey cheese into the soup. In a blender, process the soup, add the crème fraîche, and season to taste. Serve piping hot scattered with Parmesan cheese shavings.
A New Way to Cook
by Sybil Kapoor
Photographs: David Loftus
208 pp., $29.95
Colour photographs throughout
Softcover with French flaps
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2004
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