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Holiday Soups
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Olive oil
1 medium apple, peeled and diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Pinch of dried sage
Salt and pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
Roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
Skewer of grilled shrimp (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the squash in a bowl with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the squash on a baking sheet in one layer.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the apple and onion; saute for 5 minutes or until the onion is just beginning to brown.  Add the roasted squash, sage, salt and pepper, and broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cover with the lid slightly ajar, and cook for 30 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the heavy cream, heat when ready to serve.  Serve the soup in individual bowls sprinkled with some roasted pumpkin seeds or a skewer of grilled shrimp.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup

(Serves 6)

This soup takes a bit of time of make but the results are well worth it.  Use any combination of fresh mushrooms that you like in this recipe.  We like a mixture of shitake, cremini, and button mushrooms.  This soup can be made ahead of time but add the half and half, cream, and parsley when you reheat the soup just before serving.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned

Mushroom  Stock:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
6 cups water

Soup:
4 ounces of unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 leeks)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 cup half-and half
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Clean the mushrooms and separate the stems from the caps.  Coarsely chop the stems.  Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick.  Cut the slices into bite-size pieces if they are large.  Set aside.

To make the mushroom stock:
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chopped mushroom stems, onions, carrots, and sprig of thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Add the water, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.  Strain, reserving the broth and discarding the vegetables. You should have about 4-1/2 cups of mushroom stock; if not, add some water.  Set the stock aside.

To make the soup:
Return the saucepan to the heat and melt 4 ounces of butter.  Add the leeks; cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the leeks begin to brown.
Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes or until they are tender and brown.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the saucepan.  Add the mushroom broth and minced thyme; season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley; heat through but do not boil. Serve.
Corn and Crab Soup

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 heaping tablespoons flour
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
5 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob
2 teaspoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Vegetable Magic Seasoning
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of white pepper
1/2 cup half-and-half
8 ounces lump crabmeat

Directions:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion; sauté 3-4 minutes until the onion just begins to brown.  Add the celery and carrots; sauté another 2 minutes.Stir the flour into the vegetable mixture and cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth, corn, seasoning, sugar, and white pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer; cover and cook for30 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until fairly smooth.  Return the soup    to the saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the half-and-half and crabmeat.  Cook just to heat through and serve.
Green Bean Soup with Swirled Pesto
(Serves 4)


Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Pesto Sauce:
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt
Olive oil

Directions:

Place the beans in a pot of boiling water and cook until fork tender, 10-12 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan, saute the onion in the olive oil until just tender.  Bring the broth to a simmer.  Add the beans and onion, simmer for 10 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.  Add the cream, add seasonings to taste, and set aside.  The soup should be quite thick.

To make the pesto sauce:
Place the garlic, nuts, basil, cheese and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until well chopped.  Add enough oil to make the pesto the same density as the soup.

To serve:

Reheat the soup until warm but not hot.  Ladle the soup into 4 bowls.
Spoon a dollop of pesto in the middle of each serving.  Lightly stir the pesto in a circular manner to create a swirl on the surface of the soup.  Serve.

Alternate way to serve:
Ladle the soup into 4 bowls.  Put the pesto in a pastry bag and put some sour cream in another pastry bag. Make concentric circles on the surface of the soup in each bowl, alternating the pesto and sour cream.  Use a toothpick to drag the circles from the center to the edge of the bowl to form a star design.
Start your Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Day Dinner with one of these delicious soup recipes.  For the busy holiday season, each of these soups can be made ahead of time so you just need to reheat and serve.  In fact, most soups taste even better when served the next day because the flavors have more time to develop.
RECIPES
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Corn and Crab Soup
Green Bean Soup with Swirled Pesto
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