As the weather gets colder, consider making Roasted Butternut Squash Soup using this recipe, courtesy of one of our favorite weekend retreats, The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Roasted squash has a delicate flavor; slightly earthy and mildly sweet. In order to capture that flavor, one must not cover, but accompany this delicate taste.
For an easy post-holiday getaway without the car, take the New Jersey Transit from Penn Station and arrive right across from the hotel in just over an hour. The Bernards Inn is all about low-key elegance and has an aura of quiet luxury, reminiscent of a British country inn. Executive Chef Corey Heyer’s menu highlights the windfall of fresh produce from the inn’s own garden. The intimate dining room’s fare is contemporary American, and locally raised meats, such as pheasant and venison, stand out. The wine list is an eclectic mélange, with over 45 by-the-glass selections, including hard to-find California “cult” Cabernets and sought after Super Tuscans that compliment the sophisticated menu. The 20 guest rooms in this 100 year-old historic hotel are individually appointed, and make for a gracious overnight getaway. Check out the inn’s Gourmet Getaways that combine fine dining with an overnight stay.
Chef Heyer’s Simple Recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
3 Medium butternut squash, cut in half, seeds removed (reserve for later)
¼ Teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Cup of heavy cream (optional)
1 Large white onion, cut in small pieces
1 Rib celery, cut in small pieces
3 Quarts water
1 Bay leaf
1 Sprig thyme
½ Stick cinnamon
1 Clove, whole
1 Tablespoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
2. Place butternut squash flesh side up on a cookie sheet.
3. Mix the melted butter, nutmeg and honey together, and brush the mixture on the squash. Season with ½ Tablespoon salt.
4. Wrap the squash in foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes then remove the foil and continue to bake until tender.
5. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed sauce pot, make a squash stock by combining the water, the reserved squash seeds and all other spices. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes.
6. After the stock is flavorful and slightly reduced, strain through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve for later.
7. When the roasted squash has cooled slightly, using a large spoon, remove the flesh from the skin. The skin may be discarded.
8. In a blender combine the roasted squash, squash stock and heavy cream (optional). Puree until smooth and creamy.
9. Adjust consistency with some water and season with remaining salt.
Chef’s note: The soup may be garnished with some toasted pumpkin seeds, croutons, or julienne pear if desired.