Squash and Chili Pepper Soup
Any fall/winter varieties of squash, such as butternut squash, are best in this soup.
- 1 squash (any fall-winter variety such as butternut)
- 2 yellow onions
- 1 chili pepper (any mild to medium-hot type, such as poblanos or serranos)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups Basic Chicken Broth
- 1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk
- ½ cup sliced almonds or pine nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and slimy threads. Place the two halves cut-side down in a baking pan and add ½ inch of water to the pan; bake for 35 to 50 minutes (depending upon the thickness of the squash), until tender.
Meanwhile, chop the onions. Seed and mince the chili. If using cumin seeds, heat a heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron) on medium. Add the cumin seeds to the pan and toast them, stirring periodically, until they darken and emit a roasted aroma. Remove the seeds from the pan and set aside.
Using the same pan, add enough oil to just coat the bottom of the pan, and toast the nuts (if using).
When the squash is done, allow it to cool slightly; save the water from the pan.
Peel the squash and cut the flesh into chunks.
In a soup pot, warm the butter. Sauté the onions and chilies on medium for about 3 minutes.
Add the squash, broth, and the water from the squash pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the cumin seeds (or ground cumin) and simmer for 40 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the soup pot.
Stir in the dairy product and reheat; do not allow the soup to boil once the dairy has been added. Garnish with nuts and serve.