Jacques Pépin's Butternut Squash Velvet Soup

After watching an episode of Jacques Pépin's More Fast Food My Way, I was inspired to make his Butternut Squash Velvet Soup. It's so easy and so simple and highlights the beautiful flavor of butternut squash.

I replaced half the olive oil with bacon fat to give it a smoky flavor without adding the texture of bacon. I purchase pre-peeled, cubed butternut squash because I don't like the film that forms on my fingers if I handle the squash for too long.

I highly recommend this recipe. It's perfect for dinner with a simple salad and some bread or as an elegant starter.

Jacques Pépin's Butternut Squash Velvet Soup

Modified slightly from the original

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1 butternut squash (about 1½ pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
¾ cup diced onion
1 cup sliced leek, including some of the lighter green inner leaves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups chicken stock, homemade, or low-salt canned chicken broth
1 cup water
½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup crushed pistachio nuts
A few sprigs fresh chervil, dill, chopped fresh tarragon, or chives

Heat the oil and bacon fat in a large sauce pan. Add the squash, onions, leek, olive oil, salt, pepper, stock, and water. Bring everything to a boil, cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for 20 minutes.

Emulsify the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. (The soup can be prepared to this point a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. It also freezes well.)

At serving time, add the cream and bring the soup to a boil. Serve garnished with a sprinkling of crushed pistachios and a sprig of fresh chervil or dill or a sprinkling of tarragon or chives.