Winter Squash Soup, Dried Figs & Toasted Pine Nuts
Recipe from Simply Organic (Chronicle Books, 2008) by Jesse Ziff Cool
Winter squash soup is deeply satisfying and stick-to-the-ribs warming, and it is delicious with a hearty chicory salad.
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped coarsely
1 to 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fennel or celery
⅓ cup dry white wine
4 cups winter squash, such as Butternut, Acorn, Hubbard, Turban or pumpkin, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coconut or cashew milk (optional: See Kitchen Tip)
4 to 5 dried figs, cut into thin rounds
Put pine nuts in a small, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the skillet often, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and toasted.
In an 8-quart soup pot, over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add onion, carrots and fennel. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and caramel in color. Add wine and squash and cover with the broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until squash is very soft.
Purée the soup in the pot with a handheld immersion blender, or purée in a food processor (working in batches) and return it to the pot. Add thyme, coriander and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the coconut or cashew milk, taste for sweetness and add maple syrup to taste. Heat soup and thin with extra broth if necessary.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with the dried figs and pine nuts.
Kitchen Tip: To make cashew milk, purée 2½ to 3 cups water with 1 cup cashews in a blender and strain through a fine-mesh strainer.