November 5th 2013
A week ago I had the utter privilege of eating at one of PDX’s most famous restaurants “Beast” headed up by renowned chef Naomi Pomeroy and nestled in the heart of Concordia in the northeast, this 24 seat high end eatery is a hot reservation here in Portland. My husband, and I got the opportunity to go there since we had his mom in town to watch the kids, and I had been dreaming of eating there since we moved here three years ago. The food did not disappoint, with six courses, and French wine pairings it was surely a night to remember. The dish that stood out for me was course one, it was a butternut squash veloute, with pork rillettes and brown butter crumble. It was sublime, velvety, and the rillette was like a pulled pork “tater tot” of sorts that literally melted in your mouth, bathed in butternut blankets and topped with brown butter crumble so light that it seemed it was something not of this world. I’m pretty sure it might’ve been topped with a hint of truffle oil, and hey, I ain’t complaining. I wanted to make this as an opener for Thanksgiving this year, and I figured I would need to do a “dress rehearsal” beforehand to get it right. I didn’t make the rillettes (a post for another day) yet as my son had an epic fit today at the Lloyd farmer’s market that seemed only an exorcism could cure. I did pick up a beautiful butternut squash from Naked Acres Farm here in Portland, it doesn’t get any more local then that! Naked Acres is on SE Foster here just outside of the city and if need be I could be there in 10 minutes! I love this about Portland, yes Hood river produce is awesome, but if I can support a small sustainable farmer right in town it’s a win for us all. This squash was so fresh that upon peeling it wept tears of sweet moisture! My soup is of course my own interpretation and I think the results were stellar. Try this as an opener at your Thanksgiving celebration!
You will need for four servings:
1 ½ lbs butternut squash peeled and roughly chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 cups stock, chicken or veg
One palm full of dried porcini (you could omit this if you want to drizzle it with truffle oil at the end)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. Olive oil
4 oz. heavy cream, 1 oz put aside for garnishing.
2 T. beurre manie with sage (1 tablespoon butter mixed with 1 tablespoon flour and three minced sage leaves, this is used in place of a traditional blond roux)
In a heavy bottom sauce pan, sweat squash, onion, and garlic in oil over medium heat, until onions are translucent, add stock and porcini, simmer until tender, using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree, add cream, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, add beurre manie and simmer five minutes. Soup is done. Can be made ahead, just don’t add the cream or beurre manie till the day of.
Two slices white bread, I used Marquee bakery country white, cubed
Two tablespoons brown butter (cook until brown and toasty)
1 sage leaf
Brown butter in a small skillet, add sage leaf, add bread, cook bread until golden. Salt croutons lightly, serve on top of soup.
For presentation, drop a few drops of cream into soup and garnish with croutons. Enjoy!