This Butternut Squash Soup with Parsnip Cream, Candied Pumpkin Seeds and Spiced Oil Recipe by Chef Igor Cikarev at The Gibson Hotel, is velvety smooth, perfectly paired with the flavour of parsnip and caramelized pumpkin seeds, a complementary touch of spice, making it deliciously balanced with the sweetness of butternut squash. A perfect starter or evening meal for cold nights in.
– 20 g of butter
– 1 tbsp of oil
– 2 onions, or 1 large onion, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 potato, around 230g in weight
– 1 butternut squash, around 450g in weight
– 400ml of vegetable stock
– Salt & black pepper
– 45g of shallots, diced
– 25g of butter
– 3g of salt
– 350ml of milk
– 100g of parsnip, peeled and chopped
Candied Pumpkin Seeds
– 75g of seeds
– 100g of sugar
– 5g of salt
– oil, for deep frying
– 50ml of olive oil
– 5g of curry powder, mild
– 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic over a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until soft and translucent. While the onions are cooking, prepare your other vegetables – chop the potato into chunks, and peel and chop the squash.
2. When the onions are cooked, add the other vegetables to the pan, and mix well. Add the vegetable stock (it should be almost covering the vegetables – adjust the quantity as needed, depending on the size of your pan), and cover with a lid. Simmer over a medium heat for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are very soft. When the vegetables are ready, use an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season with salt & black pepper.
Sweat the shallots in butter for 3 minutes, until soft but not golden. Add the other ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into a blender, then blitz, scrape down the sides of the jug and blitz again. Pour into a siphon and charge with 2 gases. Keep warm until needed.
1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pumpkin seeds for 3–4 minutes until slightly softened. While they are boiling, mix the salt and sugar together in a bowl and heat a pan of oil for deep frying to 190°C. Once the seeds have softened, drain well but don’t let them dry.
2. Tip them into the sugar and salt mixture and toss to cover. Shake off any excess sugar and carefully add the seeds into the hot oil. Give a brisk stir to stop them sticking together. Line a tray with a parchment paper while they are cooking. Fry the seeds until the oil stops bubbling, as this is when you know all the moisture has evaporated. They should be covered in an even layer of golden-brown sugar. Remove them from the oil and scatter over the tray.
Heat the olive oil to 100°C in a pan over a medium heat. Add the curry spice, salt and turmeric. Take off the heat and leave to infuse until cold. Once cold, spoon off the oil, leaving the gritty sediment behind.
Serve soup with parsnip cream, topped with candied pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of spiced oil.
Igor Cikarev is the executive head chef at The Gibson Hotel. A Russian native from Riga, Igor got his start in the Latvian capital and has continued to grow his experience over the years.
Chef Igor also cooks for many of Ireland’s romance seekers on RTÉ’s popular TV show, First Dates, which is filmed at The Gibson Hotel in Dublin.
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