Cooking

Better Butternut

Put the kibosh on boring squash

'Tis the season for hard squash--and butternut squash soup is a default reaction to the abundance.

Good news for the squash set: During a recent visit to Graham Elliot, we discovered an iteration that felt anything but standard.

At a restaurant where sweetbreads, orange and sesame share the same plate, butternut squash soup with curry hardly jumps off the menu. But here, the familiar pairing is ramped up--and shot directly to Southeast Asia--via coconut, lemongrass, ginger and lime. The result is the season's best version of the stuff.

In the kitchen, Graham Elliot Bowles packs the squash in a bag with ginger, garlic, chilies, Indonesian sweet soy sauce and coconut milk. He simmers it sous vide to intensify the flavors and coax the silkiest possible texture from the squash. After a turn in the blender, the final soup is garnished with toasted fresh coconut, a yellow-curry marshmallow, toasted pumpkin seeds and cubes of butternut squash pickled in Japanese citrus.

He's kindly tweaked the recipe for the home kitchen, turning it into a one-pot wonder for the fall dinner table (click here to download the recipe).

We'll be keeping it in mind for Thanksgiving, when we plan to use the jolt of Thai flavor to break the sage-and-thyme monotony.

Graham Elliot, 217 W. Huron St.; 312-624-9975 or grahamelliot.com

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