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Felicia Ciaramitaro Mohan serves this butternut squash and leek soup to her guests every Thanksgiving. It is very popular, delicious and you can learn to make it very quickly.
After peeling and cutting up the squash you should cut and clean the leeks. Unfortunately the growing method for leeks causes them to build up dirt inside and requires that you cut and clean them carefully. To clean them you first trim off the root end, leaving about 1/4 inch of the base, which is the white portion. Next you should take off any of the rough outer leaves and throw them away. Then trim each of the darker parts of the leaves down to the light green portion (this is the more tender portion) and leave only an inch or two of green. You may want to reserve the darker green leaves you cut off for other uses.
To finish cleaning you need to slice the leeks down the center and rinse under cold running water. This will remove the dirt and sand. Be sure that you get in between all of the leaves. Drain and dry and then rough chop your leeks.
One of the secrets to getting all of the taste out of the leeks is to sauté them in butter for about five minutes before adding the chicken stock. Add the fresh thyme and let it simmer. When the squash and leeks are fork soft you want to puree them with a hand blender or another blending machine. Keep on the soup base on the stove over low heat, being careful not to cook the soup. Add heavy cream and milk along with the rest of the seasonings. Felicia likes to garnish with chopped chives and parmesan cheese.
8 cups peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
5 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups chopped leeks cleaned well (white parts only)
6 cups chicken stock (1 large can)
3 sprigs fresh thyme plus ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup fresh chopped chive
Freshly Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Melt butter in a large pot over med/high heat.
2. Add leeks and continue cooking over medium /high heat, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Place squash into pan and stir all ingredients together.
4. Add 1 teaspoon salt, chicken stock, fresh thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Turn off heat.
5. Using a hand mill, puree until smooth (If one does not have a hand mill, puree mixture in a blender or Cuisinart in batches then return to pan) Note: The soup can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead, refrigerated, and finished when ready to serve at a later date.
6. Add milk and cream to warm puree mixture.
7. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, pepper and dried thyme
Carefully ladle soup into serving bowl and sprinkle top with 1/4 teaspoon chopped chives and 1 teaspoon grated cheese.
Recipe courtesy of Felicia (Ciaramitaro) Mohan, 2011.
Gloucester native Felicia Mohan Ciaramitaro - known to her many followers as Sista Felicia - grew up cooking with her mother and grandmother. While perfecting her family's favorite recipes and her