Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

Squash Soup with Pumpernickel Witches and Spicy Blood Droplets(Spicy Roasted Squash Soup with Pumpernickel Toast)

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings
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Witch Croutons:

15 slices pumpernickel bread

1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup), softened


1 (12-pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeno chile, including seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

7 cups chicken broth or water

5 cups water, plus additional for thinning

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Hot Sauce, as needed


Special equipment:
Witch-shaped cookie cutter
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the Witch Croutons: Trim and discard crusts from bread. Spread 1 side of each slice evenly with butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut into witch shapes with cookie cutter and arrange, buttered side-up, on a baking sheet. Toast bread, turning once, in middle of oven until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a rack to cool. 
  3. Make the Soup: Put squash, cut side-down, in a greased shallow baking pan and roast in the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool and scoop out flesh. 
  4. Puree squash in batches in a blender with jalapeno, cumin, and broth until very smooth (add water, as needed, to facilitate pureeing). Transfer to a 6 to 8-quart heavy pot and stir in the 5 cups of water. Simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes, then stir in lemon juice, enough water to thin to desired consistency, and salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. Divide soup among bowls, top with a witch crouton, and drizzle drops of hot sauce around the sides. 

Cook’s Note

Toasts may be made 2 days ahead, cooled completely, and kept between layers of paper towels or waxed paper in an airtight container, at room temperature. The squash puree may be made 2 days ahead. Cool completely; then chill, covered.