Roasted Garlic and Squash Soup

squash soup(4-6 servings)

Adapted from Splendid Soups: Recipes and Master Techniques for Making the World’s Best Soups by James Peterson

Roasting all the vegetables makes this soup simple and adds depth of flavor. Roasting the squash makes irregularly shaped varieties easier to peel; the pulp is just scooped out and the peels discarded. Save the squash seeds to roast and garnish the finished soup.

3 pounds acorn squash

4 heads of garlic

2 medium sized red onions, peeled and halved

3 medium sized carrots, peeled (or scrubbed well) and halved lengthwise

¼ cup olive oil

5 fresh thyme sprigs or 3 fresh sage leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

4 cups chicken stock or more as needed

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut the squash crosswise in half and scoop out the seeds. Break the garlic into cloves but don’t bother peeling the cloves. Toss the onions, carrots and garlic in the olive oil and put everything in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan with the squash halves flat side down. The pan should be large enough to hold the vegetables in a single layer. Roast for about 1 ½ hours, stirring the vegetables (except the squash) every 20 minutes so they brown and cook evenly. Near the end of cooking, after about 1 hour and 20 minutes, add the thyme to the roasting pan.

When the squash is soft (it’s easily penetrated with a knife or skewer), let it cool and scoop the pulp out into a mixing bowl and discard the peels. In a blender or food processor, combine the squash with the roasted vegetables, herbs (remove leaves from stems, discarding stems) and enough of the stock to get it to turn around. Working in batches, puree until smooth. Work the puree through a food mill or strainer (use a ladle to work it through a strainer) into a clean pot. Add the rest of the stock and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls. Garnish with roasted squash seeds.