I love homemade soups. I especially love creamy soups... unfortunately, creamy soups don't particularly love me (well... they do... they attach themselves to my hips and refuse to ever leave...) The perfect compromise is this recipe from a now-out-of-print Paul Newman cookbook - it is rich and creamy with no cream. Not much to this compromise - the wonderful flavor and rich, soul-satisfying appeal of this creamy concoction does not leave me feeling compromised at all!
1 butternut squash (4-5 lbs), halved and seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
1 russet potato, peeled & chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup whole cloves garlic (about 6 medium cloves)
6 - 8 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup ruby port
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Brush the cut surfaces of the squash with 2 tablespoons of the oil and bake on a cookie sheet until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool and scrape out the flesh into a bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a soup pot over high heat until hot. Add the potato, onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the cooked squash, port, and allspice, and cook at a low simmer for 40 minutes.
Puree the hot soup with an immersion blender. Add additional stock if necessary to arrive at the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper. Swirl in the butter. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with the pumpkin seeds.
Adapted from Newman's Own Cookbook, copyright 1998