Curried butternut squash soup with pumpkin seed granola and ginger batons recipe

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This is the fall and winter counterpart to our spring and summer pea soup, a butternut squash soup that my daughter Emma loves as much as our guests do. We always make an ample supply of the sweet-savory granola because our diners relish it, both in the dish and passed on the side. If you don’t finish it, save the leftovers for a snack or breakfast. You can turn this into a full meal by adding the roasted duck breast discussed in Restaurant Embellishments.

  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For the Granola
  • 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 ounces dried cranberries
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) mild-flavored honey, such as orange blossom
  • 2 large egg whites, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, or more to taste
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground dried mild-to-medium red chile, such as New Mexican or ancho
For the Squash Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • ½ small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh Fresno red chile or small New Mexican red chile, seeded and chopped, or 1 teaspoon ground dried mild to medium red chile, such as New Mexican or ancho
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1½ teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) apple cider
  • 6 cups (1½ quarts) Vegetable Stock
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper
For the Ginger Batons
  • Canola or vegetable oil for pan-frying
  • Thumb-size chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
How to Make It
    To Prepare the Garnola
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment paper.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Spread out the granola on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown and lightly crisp. Set the baking sheet on a baking rack to cool.
  4. To Prepare the Soup
  5. You can do this while the granola bakes. Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the squash, apple, bell pepper, red chile, onion, ginger, and curry powder. Cook until the ingredients have some brown edges and have softened, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add the cinnamon stick and cider and reduce the liquid by about half, which should take several minutes.
  7. Pour in the stock and cream and continue to simmer until again reduced by about half, about 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender. Remember that hot soup expands quite a bit when blended. Puree. Pour the soup into a pitcher.
  9. To Prepare the Ginger Batons
  10. You can make this while the soup is cooking if you like. Warm a small skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to measure ¼ inch deep. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger and fry quickly, a matter of seconds, until crispy
  11. Putting it all together
  12. Arrange 4 soup plates or broad soup bowls on a work surface. Make a pretty pattern of garnishes in each bowl. In the center of each, mound about 3 tablespoons of the granola with a spoonful of ginger beside them. Scatter leaves or blossoms around the bowls.
  13. Set a bowl in front of each diner. Pour equal portions of the soup into each bowl, pooling it around the garnishes until most are submerged. Eat right away.
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