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Chef Jon Ashton Butternut Squash Soup & Panini

Warm Your Kitchen with a Classic Combo

Soup and sandwiches. A classic pairing that warms you from the inside out and ideal for ushering in increasingly crisp evenings. Add a double helping of butternut squash to the equation and you have the makings for a cozy feast with a gourmet twist. Chef Jon Ashton’s butternut squash panini and soup is a combo reminiscent of the delicious Marketplace luncheons that are the perfectly warm complement to meals al fresco on the Lido Deck, sea breeze coming from the starboard side.

It’s these moments we’re envisioning as we gather our ingredients this week. Moments sailing through New England and Canada at the dawn of the most colorful season, or along the southern Mediterranean coastlines as sunsets come a bit earlier in the evenings. Sweet and savory, rich and creamy, flavored with herbs, cheeses and plenty of smoky spices, this week’s specialties will top your fall go-to menus. Check the detailed recipe below, prep your pantry and plan to join us LIVE for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton on Sunday, September 13 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.

Butternut Squash Panini
By Chef Jon Ashton


2 lb. (1 kg) butternut squash, peeled and sliced 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
3/4 cup (180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil; divided
1 teaspoon (5 ml) paprika
Salt (to taste)
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (34 grams) brown sugar
8 slices rustic bread 
1 (5.2 oz) (150 grams) package Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese


Heat the oven to 450 F (230 C). In a large bowl combine the squash, 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil, smoked paprika and season with salt and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet and evenly spread out, roast until tender and golden 15 – 20 minutes. Toss slightly to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and let cool.

While squash is roasting, heat 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and season with a little salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well softened and start to turn golden brown (about 15 minutes). Add the vinegar and brown sugar, stir and reduce until consistency looks like honey (about 15 minutes).

Combine roasted squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning, at this stage you can add the pepper. If it feels too acidic, feel free to add a little honey or maple syrup. 

Assemble sandwiches by placing roasted squash mixture on one slice of bread.  Spread 1/4 of the cheese on the other slice.  Put both slices of bread together to form a sandwich. Brush outside with butter. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches.

Heat grill pan over medium heat; place sandwich in the pan and top with another heavy pan to compress the sandwich. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip sandwich over and cook until cheese is melted (3 to 4 minutes).

Makes 4 sandwiches  

Butternut Squash Soup
By Chef Jon Ashton


2 pounds (1 kg) butternut squash, seeded, and cut into chunks away from the rind 
4 cups (950 ml) chicken stock 
1 garlic clove 
2 sprigs fresh thyme 
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) sour cream 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter 
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar (optional) 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red pepper puree (optional):
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chicken broth 
Salt and pepper

In a large pot, combine the squash, chicken stock, garlic, and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Fish out the thyme and discard.

Let squash cool slightly. Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender or food processor. You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.

Make pepper puree: 
In blender or food processor, puree the roasted pepper adding 2 tablespoons of chicken broth until thickened consistency. Strain into a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Return the butternut squash purée to the pot over medium-low heat. If your soup feels too thick, you can add more stock or water. If it feels too thin, reduce until thickened by heating more on stove. When you feel you have the right consistency, add in the sour cream and butter until heated through (do not boil, it may cause the sour cream to separate). Add sugar until dissolved. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To serve, pour the soup into individual bowls and garnish with pepper puree.

Serves 4

Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.

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