Well, Autumn is finally here. And as I write this, I'm looking out my window at the Locust, and Paper Birches around our pond, and can see the beginnings of Fall colors. Every once and awhile the wind tugs at the branches and a few more leaves fall to the ground. It won't be too long before our grass is replaced with a multi-colored carpet of reds, browns, and yellows.
Anyway, enough talk, let's make a wonderful soup, that will keep those cold weather days at bay.
2Cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out all the pumpkin brains.
Do the same for the butternut squash.
3Chef’s Note: Don’t use the big pumpkins that you normally use for carving faces on. Choose sugar pie pumpkins or other flavorful varieties. Small and sweet, with dark orange-colored flesh; they're perfect for pies, soups, muffins and breads.
Field pumpkins, which are bred for perfect jack-o'-lanterns, tend to be too large and stringy for baking.… and that’s not a quality that we desire for our pies, or for our soups.
4Rub the insides of the pumpkin and butternut squash with the olive oil, and then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
5Place the pumpkin and butternut squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down, and bake in the preheated oven for 75 to 90 minutes, or until a pairing knife can be inserted into the flesh without resistance.
6Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7Chef’s Note: Leave them cut side down on the baking sheet, to prevent the flesh from drying out.
8While the pumpkin and butternut squash are cooling, add the chicken stock, and maple syrup to a large pot and begin to warm the liquid, and bring to a light simmer.
9Chef’s Note: I really, really, really recommend using real maple syrup for this soup, and not the kind that comes in a bottle shaped like a woman. In the United State, we grade syrup as Grade A, and B. Grade A is considered the premiere type that's meant for eating, while Grade B is so dark that it's generally only used for cooking or baking.
10Chef’s Note: If you want to make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and eliminate the heavy cream.
11When the pumpkin and butternut squash are cool enough, scoop out the flesh, and add to the pot with the simmering liquid.
Allow to simmer lightly for about 20 minutes.
12Chef’s Note: While the soup is simmering use a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces.
13After 20 minutes, add the soup to a food processor, fitted with an S-blade, and blend on high for about 30 seconds.
14Add the cream, and the fresh nutmeg, and blend again on medium high for another 30 seconds. The soup should be creamy and smooth.
15Chef’s Note: If you don’t have a food processor, you can always use an immersion blender, or a hand-held beater.
16Place into serving bowls, sprinkle on a touch of fresh cinnamon (optional), and serve immediately.
17Chef's Note: Want to jazz it up a bit... try adding a carrot or two, or maybe a stalk of celery... Up to you.
18Chef’s Note: Like most soups of this type, it will taste even better when reheated the next day...