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For my Thanksgiving table, from Fine Cooking. The herb butter can be made up to two weeks ahead, making your day easier.
For the herb butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped (about 2 Tbs.)
- 1⁄2 cup dry sherry
- 1⁄2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper
For the soup
- 4 cups leeks (chopped, well-washed, white part only, about 3 large)
- 8 cups buttercup squash (peeled, seeded, and diced (1-inch cubes)
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups chicken stock (homemade or low-salt canned)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper (more to taste)
- chopped fresh chives (to garnish)
- Up to two weeks ahead, make the herb butter:.
- Heat a small nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and heat to release their aroma and lightly toast them, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the sherry. Set the pan back on the heat and reduce the liquid to 2 Tbs., about 8 minute Let cool. In a small mixing bowl, blend the butter, chives, sherry-shallot mixture, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and spread the butter 1/4 inch thick to cover about 8x6 inches. Cover and chill. With a small cookie cutter (I use a star) or a knife, cut out 12 small shapes. Wrap in plastic and freeze; freeze the remainder separately for the turkey.
- Make the soup -- Put the leeks in a heavy-based nonaluminum, 8-qt. stockpot. Put the squash over the leeks; add the wine and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until the squash is fork-tender, about 25 minute Let cool 15 minute Add the salt and pepper; purée in a blender (or food processor). Cover and freeze (or refrigerate up to 3 days).
- On the day of serving:.
- Defrost the butter shapes. Reheat the soup over low to medium heat, stirring frequently (or in a microwave). To serve, ladle the hot soup into shallow bowls and garnish with herb butter and fresh chives.