PUMPKIN-ACORN SQUASH SOUP
1 medium pie pumpkin, about 3 1/2 lbs.
1 medium acorn squash, about 2 lbs.
4 tbsp. butter, divided
2 tbsp. honey, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh thyme sprigs and roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin and squash in half lengthwise, cutting through stem and bottom end. Reserve seeds for another use. Place pumpkin and squash halves, cut sides up, in an aluminum foil-lined shallow pan.
Microwave 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 25 seconds or until melted; stir in 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Brush cut sides of pumpkin and squash with butter mixture.
Bake pumpkin and acorn squash at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool completely (about 15 minutes). Scoop out pulp, discarding shells.
(See note: For quick version of soup, start here.) Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sautC(c) 5 minutes or until tender. Add thyme, sautC(c) 1 minute.
Stir in broth and pumpkin and squash pulp. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes.
Process soup, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to Dutch oven. Stir in half-and-half, next four ingredients, and remaining 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, over low heat, stirring often, 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Note: For a quicker version, decrease butter to 2 tablespoons. Omit the first three steps, and substitute 1 can (15 oz.) of pumpkin and 2 (12 oz.) packages of frozen, cooked pureed squash. Proceed with last three steps, simmering 6 minutes in step five, and stirring in 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt with half-and-half in final step.
--"Southern Living Home Cooking Basics"