Winter squash and carrot soup
- a winter squash of your choice, yielding 2.5 lbs cooked squash
- 3/4 lb carrots
- 4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- olive oil
- 6 oz. onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib (leaves included, if present), chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (possibly from freshly toasted and ground seeds)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups homemade light chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2.5-3 cups water, plus as needed to bring the soup to the desired consistency
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 40 min
Total time: 2 hours
Note: cook time includes the time needed to roast the squash.
Heat the oven to 375 F. Pierce the squash with a blade in a few places, place it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat, and bake it for 15 minutes. This makes it easier to cut it in half. Let the squash cool slightly, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (a grapefruit spoon is a useful tool for this task). Put the garlic cloves into the cavity of one of the two squash halves and place both halves on the silicone baking mat, cut side down. Put back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the carrots. Scrub them well, scrape off the thin skin with a knife, then rinse them. Cut carrots into 1/4"-thick slices and spray a bit of olive oil on them. Take the baking sheet with the squash out of the oven and distribute the carrots on it, if there is space. Otherwise, use another baking sheet, but try to bake all the vegetables at the same time, for energy efficiency's sake. Take the carrots out of the oven after 30 minutes. At that time, check the squash and, if necessary, bake it longer, until you can easily pierce it with a knife. Let the squash cool and then scrape the flesh off the skin, again using a grapefruit spoon. Peel the garlic cloves and set them aside.
Warm up some olive oil in a soup pot and add onion and celery. After 3-4 minutes, cover the pot and let the vegetables cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add cumin, smoked paprika and cloves to onion and celery, stir, then add squash, carrots, stock, and water to cover the vegetables. Cover the pot, bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, then purée with an immersion blender. Add more water, if needed, to make the soup reach the desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
The suggestion is to make it ahead and reheat it before serving.