Roasted Pumpkin-Apple Soup

Roasted Pumpkin-Apple Soup

Apples add just a hint of sweetness to this velvety pumpkin soup. Try it as
a delightful first course for a special meal.

4 pounds pie pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (see Tip)
4 large sweet-tart apples, such as Empire, Cameo or Braeburn, unpeeled, cored and cut into eighths
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted (see Tip)
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss pumpkin (or squash), apples, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, for 30 minutes. Stir in sage and continue roasting until very tender and starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Transfer about one-third of the pumpkin (or squash) and apples to a blender along with 2 cups broth. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a Dutch oven and repeat for two more batches. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and heat through over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent splattering, for about 6 minutes. Serve each portion topped with hazelnuts and a drizzle of hazelnut oil.

Tips and Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave on High, covered, stirring frequently, or on the stovetop over medium heat.

Tips: Make it easier to cut a pumpkin, acorn squash or other winter squash: pierce in several places with a fork; microwave on High for 45 to 60 seconds. Use a large sharp knife to cut in half. Remove the seeds and stringy fibers with a spoon.

To toast chopped nuts, small nuts and seeds, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

READER'S COMMENTS (more at source site):

The taste was a little bitter, but was definitely softened by the hazelnuts and oil. I found the oven temperature in the recipe to be too high. The pumpkin got burned spots on it fairly quickly. Also, the apple takes much less time to roast than the pumpkin. Maybe it should added along with the sage to give the pumpkin a head start. Perhaps peeling the apples would get rid of some of the bitterness.

There is no need to peel squash before roasting. Using a large sharp butcher knife, cut into 1/2 or 1/4's or what ever (depending on the size you are starting with) Then place meat side down on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 until a fork can pierce the skin easily. (higher heat can cause bitterness if it gets burnt) Let cool until you can handle (or even in the fridge over night). The skin comes right off and if there are any burnt edges you can easily cut them off the larger pieces.

Do not skip the garnish of hazelnut oil, if at all possible--it adds a wonderful depth to the flavor. I used about a cup less broth than was called for and had a velvety soup. I also used more sage than was called for. Honeycrisp apples were perfect for flavor, but Macintosh would also be good when those are not in season.

Steaming the pumpkin (cut up) first will make it much easier to peel.

From: EatingWell: November/December 2009
recipe picture
EatingWell: November/December 2009