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Roasted squash soup

Squash and pumpkin are generally used as fillers in curries and stews. They gain prominence on the table only occasionally, especially during the fall season. They range from mildly sweet to earthy, and I love their subtle flavours. If you are confused about the difference between a pumpkin and a squash, here is a clarification. There is, technically or botanically, any difference. The term pumpkin is used generically for the large, round yellow variety; think Halloween. A squash is generally wider, ranging in colour, shape and size.

This soup highlights the lovely flavour of yellow pumpkin. The slow roasting with spices adds a beautiful flavour to the soup, and using a good broth, whether homemade, see recipe below, or commercial, is essential for this recipe.

This cookbook is a collection of 125 of his best recipes, covering traditional and contemporary dishes from Portugal. The recipes range from simple to complex ones with very traditional ingredients. The dishes always turn out spectacular, authentic to tradition, and delicious. This is a lovely cookbook for those who want to delve into the favours of a nation with spectacular food.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.



Ingredients:

For the stock:

8 cups water

2 large onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

10 garlic cloves, sliced

1 bay leaf

12 black peppercorns

4 sprigs fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon salt

Add a few chicken bones or pieces for a chicken stock.


For the soup:

5 tablespoons butter

1 cinnamon stick, halved

15 juniper berries

1 whole star anise

6 green cardamom pods

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 1/2 lb yellow pumpkin of your choice, betterkut squash, sugar, kabocha or other, or a mix. Peel and chunk in large pieces

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon white pepper

Stock

Extra-virgin olive oil

Almonds or pine nuts, lightly toasted


Add all the ingredients for the stock and boil. Simmer with the lid closed for 1 hour. If you have the time, simmer for 11/2 - 2 hours.


Drain the stock, discarding the solids. Keep aside for later.


While the stock is simmering, heat the butter in a large pot on low heat. Add the cinnamon, juniper, star anise, cardamom, and coriander seeds and fry for 2-4 minutes until the butter is lightly golden. Allow to cool completely so the oil has more time to absorb the spices' flavours.


Heat the oven to 375° F.


Add the pumpkins to a lined baking sheet. Strain the butter over the pumpkins, discarding the spices. Toss the pumpkins well in the butter and roast for 30-45 minutes till the pumpkins are soft and charred in spots. Remove and cool.


To finish the soup, bring the strained stock to a boil. Add the pumpkins, and scrape off all the butter and juices into the pot. Bring to a boil and add the white pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.


Purèe the soup with a hand blender till very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve if desired for a silky soup.


Serve hot, garnished with the nuts.

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