The summer blaze has broken, giving way to sparkly light, walnuts dropping on sodden ground, and joe-pie-weed antiqued brown. It's nearly time to start pillaging the wood pile. Woolen apparel is ready for wear, the snow seal has been unearthed and applied to leather. This is a time to sip cider, stack hard squashes by our doorsteps, and settle in over a bowl of rich soup.
Roasted carrots and assorted winter squashes whirl together with cream and homemade broth to properly usher in the Autumn season. Find a chair by a window and enjoy the show.
Creamy Winter Squash and Carrot Soup: (feeds a crowd)
*1 large hubbard or buttercup squash (or both), quartered and seeded
*1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and pulp removed
*10-12 large carrots
*2 sweet potatoes (optional) pierced several times with a fork
*1 medium sweet onion (optional)
*3 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
*4-5 cups homemade chicken broth
*1 teaspoon mace
*1 1/2 - 2 cups (you decide) high quality cream (raw if possible)
*yogurt, sour cream or kefir for garnish
Preheat oven to 375.
Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
Arrange squashes cut sides down on one sheet. Drizzle skins with olive oil.
Arrange carrots, sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic on second sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour 1 cup of water on each baking sheet.
Place baking sheets in top and bottom thirds of oven, switching halfway through, and roast until all ingredients are tender (time will vary depending on thickness of squashes) at least one hour. Add more water to pans as needed.
Allow contents of pans to cool. Scoop flesh from squashes and sweet potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Add carrots, roasted onion and garlic to bowl with 1/2 the broth. Puree with an immersion blender or place contents in food processor and blend working in batches. Add more broth while blending until puree is smooth and to desired consistency.
Place puree in a large soup pot over medium low heat. Add sea salt, pepper and mace to taste. Stir in cream. Remove from heat once soup is heated through.
Portion into bowls and garnish with whole plain yogurt, kefir or sour cream and chopped parsely.