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Baked Squash Soup with Nuts and Spices

3 tablespoons blanched almonds
3 tablespoons hazelnuts
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 pounds butternut squash (1 medium), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (6 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the almonds on a pie plate or
small sheet pan and toast for 3 minutes. Add the sesame seeds,
keeping them separate from the almonds, and toast for 3 minutes
longer. Add the hazelnuts, also keeping them separate, and toast
for 11 minutes more, or until the almonds and hazelnuts are browned
but not too dark and the sesame seeds are golden. Chop the almonds.
Let the hazelnuts cool slightly, rub off the skins in a clean dish
towel, and chop. Mix the nuts and sesame seeds and set aside. Raise
the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Combine the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and curry powder in a small
bowl. In a larger mixing bowl toss the squash with the olive oil.
Add the spices and mix well. Spread out the squash on a baking

Bake the squash, covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes, or
until it softens and the fibers are starting to come apart. Transfer
the squash to a large saucepan or stockpot. Add the stock, cover,
and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for
15 minutes.

Transfer the squash to a food processor and puree. Strain through
a medium-fine strainer, pressing out all the liquid with a wooden
spoon or the back of a ladle. Add the yogurt and mix well. Season
with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the soup among warm bowls.
Sprinkle with the nut-seed mixture and chopped cilantro.

Serves 8.


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