This is a warming winter soup that is elevated when you garnish it with several different kinds of croutons, especially Parmesan croutons and pumpernickel croutons. An added garnish of cubed apple complements the crunchy croutons.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 2 1/2 pounds pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium carrot, chopped (3/4 cup)
- 1/3 pound celeriac (celery root) or rutabaga, peeled, cored and cut into small dice (1/3 cup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 inch of a cinnamon stick
- 4 1/2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth
- 1/3 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
- Sea or kosher salt
- A little maple syrup, for garnish (optional)
- A little freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish (optional)
- Croutons, for garnish (see headnote)
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes, then held in acidulated water, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then grease it with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Spread the pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly browned but not quite fork-tender.
Melt the butter (to taste) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, celeriac or rutabaga and the onion; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the roasted pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, the cinnamon stick and broth, mixing well. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are quite soft.
Reduce the heat to low; add the cream or creme fraiche and stir to incorporate. Cook for a few minutes to warm through. Discard the cinnamon stick.
Use a handheld immersion (stick) blender to puree until smooth. (Alternatively, working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender. Remove the center knob of the lid and place a dish towel over the opening; this will allow steam to escape and prevent hot liquids from exiting.) Season with salt to taste.
Divide among individual bowls; garnish with the maple syrup and nutmeg, if desired, the croutons of your choice and the apple. Serve warm.
From Gastronomer Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.
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