This dish can be served as either a first course or a main course. Depending on which, it will serve six to ten.
One 2-pound (1 kg) potimarron (kuri squash)
5 cups (1.25 liters) chicken stock
2 star anise pods
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz (150 g) Roquefort, chilled and cut into thin slices
6 oz (180 g) button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
Tarragon sprigs for garnish
1. Wash the squash. Cut it in half and discard the seeds (or reserve them for another use), removing the stringy fibers. Cut the halves into 1/2-inch cubes and put them in a large saucepan. Add chicken stock, star anise and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat so mixture simmers, cover, and cook until squash is tender, about 30 min.
2. While squash cooks, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms and stir or shake the pan. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and shaking often, until they are golden and tender—about 5 min. Remove from heat.
3. When squash is cooked, remove star anise and purée the mixture, then pass it through a sieve to remove the skin. Return purée to saucepan. Adjust seasoning. If the purée is very dry, stir in a bit of hot water to make it smooth.
4. Mince tarragon and stir it into the mushrooms.
5. To serve, heat the purée until it’s steaming. Divide it into individual bowls. Top each serving with a slice of Roquefort, then top that with the mushrooms. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon and serve immediately.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of France Today