Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
2 butternut squash, (about 2 pounds each)
4 carrots, peeled
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, (1/2 stick)
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth, defatted
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 teaspoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 pinch cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 deg. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out
the seeds. Place the squash, cut-side up, in a large roasting pan.
Cut the carrots and parsnips into small pieces, and scatter them,
along with the onion, around the squash. Sprinkle the cut surfaces
of the squash with the brown sugar and dot all over with the butter.
Pour 2-1/2 cups of the broth into the pan, and cover it tightly
with aluminum foil. Bake until all the vegetables are very soft,
about 2 hours.
Carefully remove the foil and let the vegetables cool slightly.
Scoop the squash out of the skins and place it in a heavy soup pot.
Add the other vegetables and 6-1/2 cups of the broth. Season with
the mace, crystallized ginger, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir together
and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered,
for the flavors to combine,10 minutes.
Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until
it is very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add extra broth
if necessary to thin it to the desired consistency. Heat it through.
Serve the soup in large shallow soup bowls, garnished with the pine
nuts and parsley. Serves 10.
To toast pine nuts: Preheat oven to 350 deg. Spread the nuts in a
single layer on a baking sheet and toast until golden and fragrant,
3-5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes, as pine nuts burn easily.