LEEK & PUMPKIN SOUP WITH MANDARIN BROWN BUTTER

Serves 6; Recipe By Courtney McDonald

Ingredients:

-6 lbs. RougeVif d’etampes, Musque de Provence or other pumpkin, seeds removed and cut into wedges for roasting
-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-2 leeks, green tops removed, washed well and sliced crosswise
-1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
-2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
-4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, for browning
-zest and juice of 1 mandarin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Arrange the pumpkin wedges on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and roast, turning once, until pumpkin is soft – about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Scoop pumpkin flesh from the skin and set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium flame, heat the remaining olive oil and butter until butter is melted.  Add the leeks and garlic (if using), celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes.  Add the cooked squash and enough chicken or vegetable stock to barely cover vegetables.  Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until all vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.  Puree soup in a blender in batches and return to the pot.  Adjust seasoning and add cream, if using.

While soup is cooking, heat the remaining 4 oz. butter in a medium saute pan or sautior over high heat.  Allow the milk solids to begin to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.  Once the butter begins to smell “nutty,” remove from the heat and immediately add the mandarin juice and zest.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep in a warm spot until ready to use.

Heat soup back to a simmer and serve!

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