This is a terrific fall soup, perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s easy to make, and requires no pre-prepared soup stock. The aroma of the mulled spices is festive and somewhat surprising in a soup.
- 2 butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 pound peeled roasted chestnuts (you can find peeled chestnuts sold in jars)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the mulling spices:
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 5 cardamom pods, bruised
- Orange peel zest (the outer colorful skin of the orange) from about ½ an orange
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the squashes, cut-side down, on a baking pan and bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Cut into large chunks.
Gather the mulling spices into a muslin bag, tea ball or cheesecloth pouch. (The orange peel and cinnamon sticks can be allowed to roam free in the pot; they’ll be easy to fish out.)
In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, sauté onions until translucent.
Add the chunks of roasted squash, honey, salt, pepper, and half the chestnuts.
Add water to cover by 1.5 inch and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Add the mulling spices, including the orange peel and cinnamon sticks.
Simmer over moderate heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove the mulling spices, orange peel and cinnamon sticks.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender. (This is an inexpensive kitchen tool that saves a lot of cleanup. Immerse the blender into the pot in which the food has been cooked, and easily puree it with a switch of a button. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.)
Crumble the remaining chestnuts into the pureed soup.
Taste and correct seasoning by adding ground cinnamon, more salt or some more freshly ground pepper.
Garnish with freshly toasted pumpkin seeds (an excellent source of omega 3), and/or a cinnamon stick.