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Savory Butternut Squash Soup with Peep Drizzle
3 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup sherry wine
2 cans chicken broth
5 tablespoons sour cream
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
16 Peeps (preferably orange to match soup)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb, shaved
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
1 teaspoon salt
Directions for soup:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour a thin layer of water in a baking dish or a cookie sheet with sides. Place the squash halves cut side down in the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a fork can pierce the flesh easily. Cool slightly, then remove the peel. Set aside. I have also bought fresh pre-chopped butternut squash from the grocery store and just boiled it in water instead of baking.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes until tender. Pour the chicken broth into the pot. Add the potatoes and apple and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. Add the cooked squash and spices (allspice, nutmeg, ginger and salt), sherry, and 1 cup of the half and half. Mash the chunks with a fork to make sure they are soft. Use either an immersion blender or a large blender in batches and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and heat through, but do not boil.
Garnish with dribbles of the spicy chili oil and the sweet and creamy Peep sauce, and shaved fennel. Serve with buttered baguette and/or a salad with mixed greens, pear, blue cheese and spiced nuts.
Directions for Peep sauce:
Heat 1/2 cup of half and half in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add in the Peeps. As soon as the half and half starts to boil, remove from heat and stir constantly until the Peeps melt. Strain the liquid in the pot to remove the black Peep eyes, which don't dissolve. Return to pot or a bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes then whisk in 5 tablespoons of sour cream. This can be made in advance and reheated to use on the soup but it only has to be warm when you put it on the soup.
March 21, 2013