Snow Day Soup

Half of the kids in France have a snow day today, and so do we.  No school for them, no work for the adults, except slipping and sliding our way to the corner store to stock up on food and wine, in case we’re stuck here indefinitely.  Since last night the snow’s been coming down hard and fast,

the kind of thick fluffy snow that catches in the fence,

buries the berry bushes,

and traps the travelers.  The buses aren’t running, the train schedule is a laughing matter, the autoroute from Perpignan to Barcelona is closed up tight, and we’re receiving official emailed warnings to stay put.  In our case, those trapped include Eric and Jessica, who were supposed to be heading back to the US today, but who are now forced to spend a couple more days in the snowy south of  France, alas.

To console them, I made soup.  You don’t have to wait for a snow day to make this, in fact, I suggest that you make it as soon as possible.  Today I made it without the cider, to reduce the sugar content, and it was still almost as lovely as ever.  It’s the kind of soup that makes you glad to be indoors watching the snow swirl, the cats clean the icy bits from between their toes, and the electricity flicker, even if you are out of firewood.  Now how did we let that happen?

Squash Soup With Calvados and Cider*

3 lbs mixed winter squashes, halved
3 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 onion, diced
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
1 cup turkey or chicken stock
1 1/2 T boiled cider syrup (available from King Arthur, or reduce 1 cup fresh cider)
3/4 cup half and half
2 T mascarpone
2 tsp boiled cider
pinch ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Brush squash flesh with 2 tablespoons oil. Place on prepared baking sheets, cut side down. Roast squash until very tender, about 1 hour. Cool 20 minutes. Remove seeds. Scoop out 3 cups squash pulp and puree in food processor.

Melt butter with remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Sauté until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add Calvados and simmer until almost all of liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.  Add squash to pan and stir to combine. Add broth, boiled cider, and half and half.

Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.  Puree again with immersion blender.  Pour soup through a Chinois or other fine sieve.  Soup can be made ahead to this point.

Mix mascarpone, 1 tablespoon boiled cider, and ground cinnamon in medium bowl to blend.

Bring soup to simmer. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each with a swirl of mascarpone mixture and serve.

*I adapted this recipe from this Bon Appetit original.

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37 Comments on “Snow Day Soup”

  1. Moranna Says:

    Yummee!!!! I have been making soup – but nothing like this. Must have a go.

  2. zuleme Says:

    wow that sounds good. I posted my step by step onion soup process on my blog. zuleme.com


  3. When i used to sell real estate in london I remeber on cold winter days there was a man selling soup, and the squash soup was my favorite (warmed the soul) – Going to make this one and see if the memories come flooding back :))

  4. Mike Says:

    sounds good – I might try that same recipe with Pumpkin


  5. I want some right now!

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    Pumpkin would work fine, although it’s probably a little less sweet than some other squashes.

  7. charity Says:

    beautiful photographs! Almost makes me wish we had snow… almost.

  8. Karin Says:

    The soup sounds delicious! The snow-not so much.

  9. Penelope Wood Says:

    Stunning colour of the soup against the snow. I was so happy to come across your blog!

  10. Paula Wolfert Says:

    Absolutely brilliant!

    Just stopped by to wish you both a great year and saw your incredible soup. cider syrup is something I must try!
    wow

  11. Gloris Says:

    I don’t have all the ingredients, but I’m going to saute’ the onion, cinammon stick and bay leaf just to get the smell in the house. 🙂

    Lovely pics.
    Gloris

  12. Drew Says:

    This is a wonderful recipe. I recently dined at my friend’s-who lived in France for many years-house. She prepared this delicious light soup for me.

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe.


  13. What a lovely blog! I love the snow pictures and I love love love the blog name!

    I’m going to try to make that soup. It looks really good. Thanks again!


  14. That somehow looks good

  15. vbrekkidd80 Says:

    look delicious!

  16. Jaclyn Says:

    This looks and sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipe. =)

  17. fcmfotoguy Says:

    Have fun slipping and sliding……
    thanks for the recipe, I will give it a try.
    Happy New Year !

  18. Abra Bennett Says:

    Welcome to all of you new readers, and I look forward to sharing life in France with you in the coming year!

  19. Kim Says:

    Abra – This looks like a great mix of flavors. Anytime Calvados or Cognac gets involved in a recipe, I’m ready to try, and I just love the idea of the mascarpone topping (a change from the usual spoon of cream I use). You must be in the Pyrenees with all that snow – looks lovely. We’re just lightly dusted and frozen near Paris.

  20. Abra Bennett Says:

    No, we’re in the Gard, but we got a ton of snow anyway. Avignon was really socked hard too.


  21. very nice, thanks for sharing


  22. sounds yummy.

    never knew that salt could be unkosher.

    you learn something new everyday.

  23. Liras Says:

    Oh my goodness! That sounds tasty! I am not a big fan of squash but your recipe might convert me!

  24. Tri Says:

    Sounds very tastey!!!!!!!! Great photos, too!


  25. This sounds délicieux, in particular for the slow, snowy days when we have a moment to savor.

    Lovely post. I look forward to returning to your site – le coté français m’attire toujours – une autre vie, plus riche, plus nuancée.

    Thank you.

  26. MMcole Says:

    Yummy, I am putting this on tomorrow…

  27. BadWitch Says:

    Nice description, poetic images, yummy recipe…very lovely post.

    From a writer, artist, foodie,


  28. mmm, I love soup like this on a cold day. How crazy about the snow in France and Europe! Stay warm!


  29. I’m going to have to try this! Great for a cold day.

  30. Catherine MacArthur Says:

    These comments are the wrong way up! The most recent should be at the top.

  31. Abra Bennett Says:

    I know, but so far as I know it’s not a setting I can change. Sorry!


  32. very nice pictures, thanks for sharing

  33. Trees Says:

    Mmmm. And I just baked two butternut squashes, preparatory to making soup. This is a very appealing recipe!

  34. Lakia Says:

    When I used to live in western PA, we would get so much snow! Oftentimes, we would have two hour delays and/or stay home from school. Those were the BEST days!! lol I really loved snow days!

  35. Rina Says:

    Ooooh. That recipe looks really good. I’m going to see if my local grocer carries those ingredients and make it ^_^ And snow days are lovely. Alas where I live we get upwards to 5 feet of snow per winter, so we don’t get those unless the heaters were to fail or something. I envy those of warmer climates 😄


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