Twice in the last month while in Chapel Hill, we have eaten at The Weathervane. Each time we have had their delicious Cider Butternut Squash Soup. Is there any way the chef will part with this wonderful recipe? -- R.*., Raleigh
Patrick Cowden is executive chef at The Weathervane (201 S. Estes Drive; 929-9466; www.southernseason.com/cafe.asp), the restaurant at the gourmet emporium A Southern Season. He shares the recipe, along with the following story of its origin:
"[The recipe] is a slight variation of and homage to a soup that Jean-Claude Grospiron taught me when I was at Jean-Claude's in North Raleigh. Every year, we would always do a pumpkin soup using fresh pumpkin and vegetable stock. Every fall he would come into the kitchen after jaunting down to the Farmers' Market carrying a huge pumpkin and grinning ear to ear, saying 'Patrique, guess what time it is? Pumpkin soup time!' I have simply substituted butternut squash and cider into the recipe for the pumpkin and vegetable stock. Otherwise, the recipe is pretty much as we did it at Jean-Claude's."
For the many fans of the erstwhile North Raleigh restaurant and its late, inimitable owner, this soup is sure to be served with a generous ladle of fond memories.