Baked Winter Squash Soup
2 acorn squash (about 2 pounds each)
2 butternut squash (about 2 pounds each)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 teaspoons dark brown sugar
3 carrots, peeled and halved
1 large onion, thinly sliced
10 cups chicken stock or canned broth
¾ teaspoon ground mace
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Crème fraîche, for garnish
Snipped fresh chives, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the four squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash halves, skin side down, in a shallow roasting pan. Place 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar in the cavity of each squash half. Arrange the carrots and onion slices around the squash. Pour 2 cups of the chicken stock in the pan, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for two hours.
Remove the pan from the oven, and allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Scoop the squash pulp out of the skins and place it in a soup pot. Add the carrots, onions and the cooking liquid. Add the remaining 8 cups of chicken stock and the mace, ginger, cayenne and salt. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and summer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Purée the soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return it to the pot, adjust the seasonings, and heat through. Serve each portion garnisheed with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chives.
Makes 12 portions.
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22 July 2005