Chai-Infused Butternut Squash Soup
Chai-Infused Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Butternut Squash Soup derives much of its flavor from a wealth of warm spices. For big flavor from the outset, we started by sauteing our squash to coax out some of its natural sugars. Moving on to the spice factor, we landed on another ingredient that packed similar flavors: chai. By steeping a single chai-flavored tea bag with the squash while it simmered, we infused our soup with a melange of warm spice notes. (And our soup doesn’t taste like tea. Really.) To finish, a modest amount of creme fraiche ensured a creamy texture and balanced the warm flavors with a tangy bite. If you can’t find creme fraiche, substitute heavy cream; do not substitute sour cream.
Chai is a fragrant, Indian black-tea blend that often includes cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and black pepper, though the exact formulation can vary from brand to brand; you can find it in any supermarket. We tested this recipe with several brands of chai both caffeinated and decaffeinated and they all worked well.
Chai-Infused Butternut Squash Soup Recipe – Process
Peel and seed squash, then cut into ½-inch pieces. Mince scallion whites and slice scallion greens; keep whites and greens separate. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash scallion whites, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
Stir in 5 cups of water, scraping up any browned bits. Add tea bag. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until squash is tender – about 20 minutes.
Remove tea bag. Working in batches, process soup in the blender until smooth – 1 to 2 minutes. Return soup to the pot and whisk in creme fraiche. Add extra water as needed to adjust soups consistency. Heat mixture gently over slow heat until hot (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with scallion greens before serving.
Chai-Infused Butternut Squash Soup Recipe – Squash
Peel squash using vegetable peeler, then cut in half, separating neck from curved bottom. Cut top into 1/2 inch pieces. Cut bottom in half, scoop out and discard seeds. Then, cut bottom halves into 1/2 inch pieces.
Chai-Infused Butternut Squash Soup Recipe – Ingredients
3 pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 chai-flavored tea bag
2 tablespoons creme fraiche, plus extra for serving