By Brian C. Luscher, The Grape, Dallas
2–4 tablespoons Madras Curry Powder
1 Stick (8 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
3 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons Corn or Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
3 Carrots, Chopped
3 Stalks Celery, Chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin, Toasted
2 Cups Chardonnay
6 Cups Stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
¼–½ Cup Maple Syrup
Juice of 1 Lemon
¼ Cup Clover Honey
2 Cups Heavy Cream
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Créme Fraîche for Garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the curry powder and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir to blend as the butter melts. Remove from the heat once the butter has melted.
- Place the squash halves on a sheet pan, cut side up. Baste each half with 1 tablespoon of the curry butter. Place in the oven and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes, basting lightly twice more during the process. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop the cooked squash from the shells and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onion is translucent, 5–7 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the carrots and the celery. When the carrots and onion begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes, add the bay leaves and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes; then add the cooked squash. Allow to cook for another 10–15 minutes, until the spices have become fragrant and the vegetables are well caramelized; you should see a dark brown crust forming in sections of the bottom of the pan.
- Add the Chardonnay and deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits of brown crust. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the pan is nearly dry.
- Add the stock and adjust the heat to high. Bring the stock to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until all the vegetables are very tender; the squash should be basically disintegrated.
- Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves, and add ¼ cup of the maple syrup and the lemon juice, honey, and cream. Puree with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a regular blender. Add salt, pepper and additional maple syrup to taste.
- Divide the soup among 6 bowls, and garnish each serving with a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve immediately