Warm spices and caramelized onions underscore the natural sweetness of pumpkin and butternut squash in this comforting dish. The easy swirl of ginger butter at the end adds a bit of flavor and a lot of style. Prep and Cook Time: 1 3/4 hours. Notes: You can substitute 3 1/2 lbs. packaged peeled-and-cubed butternut squash for the pumpkin and squash called for below: Skip steps 1 and 3, decrease the amount of broth to 7 cups, and add the squash with the broth and carrots to the onion mixture in step 4. Cook until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.
2 pounds Sugar Pie or other baking pumpkin
2 pounds butternut or acorn squash
8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
7 tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
About 1 tsp. salt
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger, divided
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds (from about 4 pods)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut pumpkin and squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and any stringy parts. Put flesh side up in a large roasting pan with 1 cup broth. Cover pan with foil and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and 1 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and start to look creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low or medium-low and cook onions, stirring every few minutes, until they turn a caramel color and become quite sweet, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
When pumpkin and squash are tender, scoop out flesh and set aside; discard skins. Reserve any liquid in bottom of pan.
Return pot with onions to medium-high heat. Add garlic and 2 tbsp. fresh ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add remaining 7 cups broth, the carrots, cooked pumpkin and squash, and reserved liquid from roasting pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
Whirl vegetables in a blender (in batches) until completely smooth. (For silky-smooth soup, you can pour the puréed soup through a strainer.) Return to pot and stir in brown sugar. Season with salt to taste. Keep warm over low heat.
Put a small bowl or measuring cup next to the stove. Melt remaining 4 tbsp. butter in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tsp. fresh ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter starts to foam. Stir mixture constantly until it starts to brown. Pour mixture into waiting bowl or measuring cup. Divide soup among 8 bowls and serve hot, with a swirl of ginger browned butter in each serving.