Roasting a whole squash takes longer than one that's cut up, but Smoot finds it easier (and safer) to peel and cut the squash after it's cooked.
1 large butternut squash (about 3 3/4 lbs.)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 Granny Smith or other firm-tart apple, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 to 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup crème fraîche
Optional toppings: Candied pecans, rosemary crackers, thinly sliced apples or pears, pomegranate seeds, flat-leaf parsley leaves
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°. Roast whole squash on a rimmed baking pan until tender enough for a long skewer to go all the way through neck of squash, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool.
While squash cools, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add red onion and apple and cook, covered, until onion is translucent and apple is tender, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Halve cooled squash lengthwise and scrape out seeds and discard, then scoop out flesh and set aside.
Remove onion-apple mixture from heat and stir in cooked squash and 2 cups broth. Whirl in batches in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and heat over medium heat to warm through and blend flavors, 5 to 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed to thin to desired consistency; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls. Spoon crème fraîche onto each and serve with toppings.
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Overall it was a good, warming winter soup. I cut the squash in advance to reduce the cooking time. If I were to make it again, I'd probably halve all of the spices and then add in more after tasting if necessary.
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