Butternut Squash Soup; photo supplied by Philippe Bertineau
Photograph courtesy Philippe Bertineau

As a break from our home-developed recipes, this fall soup comes from Philippe Bertineau, Executive Chef at Payard Pâtissserie & Bistro. The touch of cranberry and juniper make it a perfect first course for Thanksgiving dinner.


Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Chutney, Juniper Cream, and Croutons
1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
3 C chicken stock
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 pinches of the following spices to taste:
Nutmeg, freshly ground
Cayenne Pepper, ground
5-Spice mix
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cranberry chutney (recipe below)
3-5 white bread croutons
A few sage leaves
Juniper berry cream (recipe below)

Cut the squash into medium chunks (about 1/2-inch cubes).

Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash and garlic and sweat at low heat until the squash becomes soft. Add the spices and the chicken stock.

Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until squash is soft and done. In a blender, purée the soup until texture is smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and pass through tamis or sieve chinois if you want that extra-smooth texture. Bring the soup back up to a boil when you're ready to serve it.

Garnish each serving in the centre of the soup bowl with a teaspoon of cranberry chutney (recipe below), 3-5 white bread croutons, a fried sage leaf, and a drizzle of juniper berry cream (recipe below) around the centre garnish.

Cranberry Chutney

6 oz of Fresh Cranberries (1/2 bag of commercially packed berries)
1/2 C of Red Wine
1/2 C of Port Wine
1 piece of ginger, slightly crushed
1 piece of lemongrass, slightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
3 cloves
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Tie the whole spices in cheesecloth or a disposable teabag.

In a medium saucepan, bring the wines to a boil with the cheesecloth package, then add the cranberries and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the cranberries burst and become soft. Season to taste, and set aside for a bit to allow the flavors to infuse before serving. Remove the cheesecloth-wrapped whole spices before serving.

Juniper Berry Cream
1 C heavy cream
1 garlic clove, slightly crushed
1 tbsp juniper berries
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil with the garlic and juniper berries. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to reduce and thicken slightly. Season to taste. Pass through a strainer, chill and reserve.

White Bread Croutons
2 slices of white bread, cut in 1/2-inch square pieces
Sage stems
1/3 C clarified butter
1 garlic clove, slightly crushed

In a sauté pan, melt the clarified butter, then add the sage stems, garlic clove, and bread and sauté until the bread turns golden brown. Drain the croutons on a paper towel lined plate. Reserve at room temperature until needed. Do not refrigerate.