Those four little butternut squash had been sitting in a bowl on the kitchen counter for two months. I inspect them often to see if they're ready. The farmer said they weren't ready to eat when I bought them and had suggested I let them ripen for a while. I don't know about them, but today I was ready for roasting things, for throwing stuff in a big pot. I wanted soup!
So here it is, a delicious combination of roasted chestnuts, squash and onion with warming spices and zesty tomato paste. If you have any room for soup on your Thanksgiving menu, this one will spice up your table nicely.
Roasted Squash Chestnut Soup
8 cups Chicken stock (see recipe below)
3 lbs Butternut Squash, peeled, and roasted (substitute with your favorite)
8 chestnuts, roasted and peeled
1 onion, sliced and roasted
3 tbsp tomato paste ( I used homemade paste)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp sea salt ( I use Real Salt brand, which is a mild flavored salt) - adjust up to your liking
1 tsp dried marjoram
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground fennel, or crushed if you have seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
Peel butternut squash, discard seeds and slice. Place slices on a baking tray, cover and roast in a 400˚F for 20-30 minutes or until soft to touch. Add the chestnuts in the oven at the same time. Also peel and slice the onion and place on a small tray in the same oven too until soft with a little color.
In a heavy duty blender, place 4 cups of stock with the roasted squash, and blend until pureed and smooth. Pour in a large pot. Pour the rest of the stock (4 cups) with the chestnuts and the onions in the blender and also blend until pureed and smooth. Pour over the pureed squash. Add the other ingredients into the pot and stir well. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, taste and adjust salt/pepper to your preference.
10 cups filtered water
Roasted chicken bones (one chicken worth)
1 cinnamon stick
1 dried lemon (found at Indian or Mediterranean stores)
4 lemon verbena leaves, dried (substitute with a few sprigs of parsley)
8-10 peppercorns, whole
2 inch fresh ginger, sliced
Bring water to a boil, cover and reduce heat so liquid can slowly simmer for at least an hour and a half. Turn off heat and leave covered to cool down for 20 minutes. Strain liquid, discard bones and aromatics and reserve the stock. This can be made in advance. The stock will last in the fridge for 4 days.