Editor’s note: We seek recipes from Triangle restaurants requested by readers.
Weathervane Restaurant in Chapel Hill serves a squash soup so good it is on the menu year-round and is often gone by the end of lunch. Any chance you could get them to share their recipe?
Pam Wilhelm, Chapel Hill
Weathervane Restaurant was just an idea when A Southern Season opened at Chapel Hill’s Eastgate Shopping Center in 1975.
By the 1980s, the store had added a small takeout kitchen and deli, which soon grew into a self-serve cafe. The full-service restaurant opened following a renovation in 1992.
In 2003, the store and restaurant moved to the current location at University Place, on South Estes Drive. The new spot expanded Weathervane’s possibilities with a year-round patio; garden settings for receptions, meetings and parties; a coffee and wine bar; and a mezzanine level.
Around that same time, Weathervane’s kitchen created the recipe for butternut squash soup, serving it only when the squash was in season in the fall and winter.
It has since become a year-round favorite of the kitchen staff and customers alike, said Stephanie Graves, Weathervane marketing manager. The recipe has evolved over time in response to guest suggestions and compliments, she said.
“In fact, when the recipe was taken off the menu for about six months in 2015, guests demanded that it be made available again,” Graves said. “Today, some folks even call ahead to make sure it’s available before driving 45 minutes or more to the restaurant.”
Customers who don’t want to dine in can order the soup to-go by the pint or the quart, she said, or pick up a take-home container from Southern Season’s deli.
The Cooking School, also a Southern Season favorite, will wrap up a spring focus on soups in May with another seasonal favorite – strawberries.
Chef Lucindy Willis from Terrapin Cove Farm in Yanceyville will teach participants how to make Strawberry Soup with Mint and other berry-inspired dishes at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Learn more and register for Cooking School classes at bit.ly/2o3zKs4.
Looking instead for some mid-week relaxation? Join Weathervane’s staff for the annual Spring Afternoon Tea at 3 p.m., 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3.
The cost is $32 for adults and $18 for children to enjoy finger sandwiches, fresh scones, and petite desserts and pastries. The price includes a glass of Rosé Champagne or a Shirley Temple.
Find more information at bit.ly/2nQUDF0.
Send recipe requests, including your name and city, to Specialty of the House, The News & Observer, P.O. Box 191, Raleigh, N.C. 27602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Specialty” in the subject line.
Want to try it?
▪ At the restaurant: Weathervane Restaurant, 201 S. Estes Drive (University Place), Chapel Hill, 919-929-9466. southernseason.com/restaurant/chapel-hill
▪ At home: For this recipe and other restaurant news, see Page 2.
Weathervane Restaurant and Patio Butternut Squash Soup
2 quarts water
4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup apple cider
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large stock pot, combine water, squash and sweet potatoes. Cover and cook on high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
Add cinnamon, maple syrup and apple cider. Puree with an immersion blender, or in batches in a standard blender, until smooth. Stir in half-and-half, then salt. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Stir the sour cream and cinnamon together to create crema. Serve soup warm with a heaping tablespoon of crema.
Yield: 5 quarts, or 10 servings