Chef Sally James’ Squash and Apple Soup with Sake-Flamed Shitakes

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 tablsepooon grated ginger
½ apple, chopped
3 cups diced pumpkin or squash (kabocha or jarradale are great)
2 cups chicken stock


Sake-Flamed Shitakes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups small shitake mushrooms
2-3 tablespoons sake (or vodka)
½ sheet nori, torn into strips

Heat oil in  3 quart saucepan, add the onion and ginger, and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Add the apple and squash and cook 1-2 minutes further, then pour over the stock. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until squash is soft.  Tip off most 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 the non-stick pan over medium heat and add mushrooms.  Cook for 2-3 minutes then pour in the sake.  Set alight and allow to flame until alcohol evaporates.

Spoon soup into bowls, add the mushrooms and some of the liquid and scatter with some nori.

Pair with Hestan San Francisco Bay Chardonnay or Stephanie Napa Valley Merlot.