Meatless Monday: Vichysquash chilled soup

A cool, creamy soup made with crookneck squash and buttermilk.

The Runaway Spoon
Chilled soups are perfect for warm summer days. This crookneck soup is topped off with a refreshing sprig of dill and a hint of tangy buttermilk, which adds such cool creaminess and a hint of Southern charm.

Vichysquash, or Squashyssoise? Yep, this all started because of the name. I saw a recipe for Vichysquash years ago, and loved the silly name, but it called for canned creamed soup, which has never appealed to me. The idea stuck though, and when I see the glut of yellow crookneck squash piling up at the farmers market, I always think of this soup. I’ve tinkered around with an old recipe, and finally settled on refreshing dill and a hint of tangy buttermilk, which adds such cool creaminess and a hint of Southern charm. When I planned to share this recipe, I suddenly had the brain wave of Squashysoisse as a name. I’ve done and informal poll, but no one can settle on which they like best. Squashysoisse is just so fun to say.

I love soup of all kinds, but have a real fondness for cold soups. Maybe it is my hot climate upbringing. They are so refreshing and satisfying, cool and creamy and smooth. I am always surprised that in the 100-degree plus summers here, more restaurants and markets don’t offer cold soups. Classic Vichyssoise is one of my very favorites, and I am also a fan of creamy Spanish white gazpacho. There may be a little standing over a hot stove involved in this recipe (a very little), but once that’s over with, there is a lovely bowl of soup chilling in the fridge. Serve little cups of this as an elegant starter or luncheon dish, or ladle out big bowls with a nice fresh tomato salad for a garden dinner.

So you tell me – Vichysquash or Squashyssoise?

Cold Crookneck and Buttermilk Soup
Serves 6 large bowls, 8 small

6 yellow crookneck squash (about 2-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons butter
1 small white onion, diced
1 bunch of dill, to yield 4 tablespoons, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Wash the squash and slice into discs about 1/2 inch thick.

In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Drop in the diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Stir in half of the chopped dill (about two tablespoons) and cook for a further minute. Season with salt. Add the sliced squash to the pot and gently stir to coat with butter, onions and dill. Cover the pot and leave the squash to steam for a few minutes. Pour in the broth, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a few times, until the squash is completely soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When the squash is cool, transfer the squash and broth to a blender, in batches, and puree each batch until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a large bowl When all the soup is strained, chill in the fridge until nice and cold. Whish the buttermilk and the remaining dill into the soup and season with salt to taste, then return to the fridge until thoroughly chilled.

Serve cold.

Perre Coleman Magness blogs at The Runaway Spoon.

Related post: Classic Vichyssoise

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