- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white parts only
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6 cups peeled and roughly diced butternut squash
- 3 cups peeled and roughly diced apples
- 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
- 6 1/2 cups chicken stock or 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 3 cups water
- Sea salt, preferably gray salt
- 1 cup chopped Spiced Candied Walnuts, recipe follows, optional
Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Toasted Spice Rub and cook briefly to toast it, about 1 minute.
Add the stock or broth-water mixture, bring to a simmer, and partially cover. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes.
Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt.
Divide the soup among warmed bowls and garnish each portion with some of the walnuts, if using. Serve immediately.
Toasted Spice Rub:
- 1/4 cup fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup pure California chili powder (about 1-ounce)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Yield: about 1 cup
Spiced Candied Walnuts:
- Peanut or canola oil
- 4 cups walnut halves
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add walnuts and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer nuts to a medium bowl. While nuts are still hot and slightly wet, add confectioners' sugar and toss to coat nuts. Stir and toss until all the sugar has melted into the nuts; if bits of unmelted sugar remain on the nuts, they will not fry properly.
Stir the nuts again before frying. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer a few nuts to the hot oil, allowing the foam to subside before adding another spoonful. (Otherwise, the oil could foam over and burn you.) Fry in small batches until the nuts are medium brown, about 45 seconds per batch; be careful not to overcook. Scatter on an unlined baking sheet to cool slightly.
In a small bowl, stir together cayenne, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the pepper.
While the nuts are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle evenly with about half of the spice mix. Toss well to distribute the spices and then taste a nut. Add more spice mix, to taste, and toss well after each addition. When cool, pack in an airtight jar. They will keep at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.
Yield: 4 cups
1. Cut tortillas into 1/2in strips and place on a cookie sheet.
1 small onion, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 can solid-pack pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 jar roasted red peppers (7 oz), drained, 1 tablespoon chopped and reserved for garnish
1/3 cup smooth reduced-fat natural peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp chopped scallion greens
1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
2. Add turmeric, paprika, and chili flakes; stir. Add pumpkin puree, broth, peppers, and peanut butter; whisk to incorporate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with sour cream, peanuts, reserved chopped peppers, and scallion greens.
Makes 4 Servings.
Per serving: 270 cal, 18 g fat (4 g sat), 22 g carbs,
450 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein