Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sue's Squash Soup

•1 large butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
•1 1/2 cups apple cider
•1/3 cup brown sugar
•2 cinnamon sticks, cut in half crosswise
•2 tablespoons melted butter
•1 cup diced onion
•2 tablespoons butter
•4 cups chicken broth
•dash ground ginger
•dash ground nutmeg
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•salt, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the squash. Cut into chunks, removing seeds and soft fibers with a spoon. Put in a bowl; add apple cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon stick pieces then drizzle all over with the melted butter. Pour the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan; cover tightly with foil and cook at 450° for 1 hour, or until very tender.
Meanwhile, cook diced onion in a large saucepan in the 2 tablespoons butter. When onion is ver tender, add chicken broth; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. When squash is very tender, remove from oven. Remove cinnamon from the squash. With a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the chicken broth and onion mixture. Add about 1/4 cup of the roasting pan juices to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Working in about 4 batches, puree the squash mixture in a blender; return to the saucepan. Stir in the ginger and nutmeg and the heavy cream, along with salt, to taste. Heat through. Serve with butter-toasted pumpkin seeds (below), if desired, or sprinkle with a little cinnamon, toasted pecans, or chopped peanuts.

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