Trevor and I first made Sheila Lukins’ Elegant Butternut Truffle Soup for Christmas 2004. We’d traveled east to spend the holidays with Trevor’s family and decided to make a feast with the help of his brother and sister. The soup was one of the dishes included in the “Extremely Merry Christmas” menu in Lukins’ Celebrate! cookbook. The other parts of meal included endive salad with Roquefort vinaigrette, a standing rib roast with horseradish cream, chanterelle risotto, Apple Brown Betty, and her wine suggestions Grand Cru Chablis and Pessac-Leognan. Lukins was right, it was an extremely Merry Christmas.
And the meal was a real group effort. Because we were flying in on Christmas Eve, Trevor’s parents bought all the groceries in Maryland and drove them up to Massachusetts in two large coolers. Trevor’s dad even made up menu cards that read “Denise and Trevor present Christmas dinner 2004 at Chez Carolyn” and listed the courses.
The butternut soup is the one recipe from that menu that I’ve made over and over. As soon as butternut squash is in season I remember this soup. It’s relatively simple to make (especially if you use an immersion blender instead of a food processor). So when I was down to my last butternut squash from Persephone Farm, I knew what to do with it.
I think what sets this soup apart from other butternut squash soups is the use of mace and the dab of truffle oil used to garnish. The unbelievable earthiness of the oil plays so well against the sweetness of the squash. Truffle oil can be tricky to find, but a gourmet shop, or well-stocked grocery store will have it. And it’s pricey, but a little goes a long way, and it adds extraordinary dimension to your dish.
And of course for me, each spoonful of this soup reminds me of that memorable evening.
Celebrate! by Sheila Lukins