Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Chipotle

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Right around the time the weather starts turning cold, I think about making soup.   I like to make it in large batches, since it doesn’t take that much more time, and I can divide it up and freeze the extra.  This year, I’m planning to use this soup as the first course at Thanksgiving.   The sweetness of the apple and the heat of the chipotle take an ordinary squash soup and transform it into an extraordinary one.       
Servings: 15to 20, about 3 1/2 quarts
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Ingredients

  • 1/4cup olive oil
  • 3teaspoonsground cinnamon, (preferably Mexican cinnamon), divided use
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1large (about 5 pounds) butternut squash, split in half lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
  • 2large carrots, diced
  • 1large white onion, diced
  • 2 firm, cooking apples, like Granny Smith, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 1/2quarts chicken broth
  • 3 to 4canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeds scraped out, roughly chopped
  • 6tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • About10 ounces firm-textured day-old bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (7 cups)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, cumin, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Brush part of the mixture over the cut edges of the squash. Place cut side down onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Scoop the carrots, onions and apples into the bowl and toss to coat. Spread onto a separate foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Slide both sheets into the oven and roast for about 40 to 50 minutes or until the onion mixture is golden brown and the squash is soft. Halfway through the cooking time, stir the onion mixture. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

Scoop the onion mixture into a large (6-quart) soup pot. Using a large spoon, scrape out the squash flesh and add it to the pot along with the chipotles, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour in the chicken broth and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large microwave safe bowl, add the butter, chipotle powder, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the sugar. Microwave on high for 1 minute until the butter has melted, stir. Scoop in the cubed bread and toss to coat. Spread onto a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the croutons are golden brown and crisp. Set aside.

After 30 minutes, transfer the soup, in batches, into a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, usually 1 teaspoon. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with seasoned croutons.

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