Squash Soup with Cognac Flamed Shitakes

In this recipe, I have added macadamias to bring an added silky rich texture to match the velvety texture of the CAMUS squashsoup.jpg Cognac, and mustard to compliment the rich aromas and spicy notes. Adding tea to the soup and topping with wild mushrooms will help to downplay the alcohol and enhance the earthiness and beauty of the Cognac.  And I'll find any excuse to incorporate a small amount of the paired beverage into the dish to make a perfect partnership, hence flaming the mushrooms in the Cognac!

Squash Soup with Cognac Flamed Shitakes

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped

1 teaspoon golden mustard seeds
¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts
3 cups diced pumpkin or squash (kaboocha or delicato is ideal)
½ cup black tea
1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Cognac Flamed Shitakes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups small shitake mushrooms
¼ cup Cognac

Heat oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, mustard seeds and macadamias, and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Add the squash and cook 1-2 minutes further, then pour over the tea and stock.  Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until squash is soft.  Tip off some of the liquid, and reserve, then puree the remainder using an immersion blender, or in a blender, until smooth and creamy.  Add more of the cooking liquid to bring to desired consistency.

Keep warm.

For the shitakes, heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and add mushrooms.  Cook for 2-3 minutes then pour in the cognac.  Ignmte carefully and when flames subside, remove from heat..

Spoon soup into bowls, add the mushrooms and some of the liquid and serve straight away.

Here are some stores and websites where you can purchase the Madura Tea:
Hannaford Supermarkets, Roche Brothers, Kings Supermarkets (NJ)
www.simplyoz.com, www.teadog.com, www.healthydirections.com and www.maduratea.com

Photography - Sally James



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