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Roasted Butternut Squash and Saffron Soup with Toasted Almond Croutons

  • Total: 2 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 10 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
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Ingredients

Vegetable Stock:

1 Spanish onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, smashed

6 parsley sprigs

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

6 black peppercorns

6 cups cold water

Soup:

2 butternut squash, halved and seeded

3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

Vegetable stock, recipe above

2 teaspoons olive oil

Pinch saffron

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Pinch cloves

1/2 cup creme fraiche

2 teaspoons harissa

Almond croutons, recipe follows

Finely chopped chives

Toasted Almond Croutons:

French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Olive oil

Spanish paprika

1/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 1 hour. Strain into a bowl.;

Soup:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place squash in a baking dish and brush the cut side with the softened butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven covered for 20 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop out the pulp from the skin. Place the squash in a large saucepan and add the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer in batches to a blender and strain through a chinois into a medium saucepan. Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan, add the saffron and saute for 30 seconds add the water and bring to a boil. Add the saffron mixture to the soup and season with the spices and cook for 10 minutes, adding more stock or water, if necessary. Remove from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche and harissa and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into bowls and float a few croutons on top. Garnish with finely sliced chives.;

Toasted Almond Croutons:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika on 1 side. Bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, or lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with almonds.;

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