Friday, December 19, 2008

Roasted Butternut Squash-Tomato Soup

This is the ultimate comfort soup--smooth, creamy, and a combination of two of the most comforting soups ever, butternut squash and tomato. I am often not a fan of pureed soups, but this one really hits the spot both flavor- and's perfect for a chilly evening along with some nice crusty bread. It takes a bit of work what with roasting all the vegetables and pureeing the soup, but it's totally worth it!

Roasted Butternut Squash-Tomato Soup (adapted from Sara Foster's The Foster's Market Cookbook and Cooking Books)

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 plum tomatoes cored and halved, seeds removed
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 stick butter
1 red onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 large handful fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1 T fresh sage, cut in chiffonade
Juice of 2 oranges
Sour cream, to serve (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pour 1 cup of water and a little of the olive oil into a baking pan and place the squash cut-side down in the pan. Roast the squash for 35 minutes, until tender.

2. Meanwhile, toss the tomato halves and the garlic cloves with more of the olive oil and with the vinegar, then put them in another baking dish and roast them for 30 minutes until soft and with shriveled skin.

3. Heat the rest of the olive oil and the butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook until all the vegetables are soft. Stir often. Add the broth along with salt and pepper to taste and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. In the meantime, scoop the squash out of the skin and add it to the soup. Continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

4. Mash the tomatoes and garlic into smaller pieces with a potato masher, reserving the juices. Add tomatoes, juice, and garlic to the soup along with the herbs and orange juice. Blend in a blender in batches, being careful not to overfill the blender and burn yourself. You can also use a food processor or immersion blender. After each batch, pour into a clean pot until all of the soup is nicely pureed. Reheat the soup to make sure everything is nice and hot, and serve with freshly cracked black pepper and sour cream.

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