Roasted Squash Soup with Cumin


Joel had planned this meal that he found in The Essential New York Times Cook Book for last week, but it kept getting pushed to another day.  Finally, today, we decided that we needed to make it so that the squash didn't end up going bad.  I had to be the one who ended up making it because Joel is sick with a nasty cold, so after my run to the drug store to pick him up some tissues, NyQuil, DayQuil, and cough drops, (and a quick trip to my mom's to play a game of Phase 10 with her and my uncle) it was into the kitchen for me to prepare this soup and bake the bread that had been rising since yesterday.  This soup is quite easy to put together, and absolutely delicious.  It ended up being the perfect remedy for Joel, well at least for tonight.  Hopefully his loot from the drug store works it's magic too and he'll be back on his feet in no time!

1 Butternut Squash (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (I used half & half)

Line a large baking sheet with foil.  Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds, reserving them for later use.  Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 teaspoons of oil, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Place the squash, cut side down, onto the baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, remove any orange fibers from the seeds and rinse them under cold water.  Drain them and place them on a towel to dry.  Toss the dry seeds in a small bowl with the remaining teaspoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and season with salt.  Spread them on a small foil lined baking sheet and roast, along with the squash, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until well browned.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Once the roasted squash has cooled slightly, remove the flesh from the shells and place in a stock pot.  Add the broth, garlic, vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.  (*alternatively, you can use a blender and blend small batches of the soup until smooth).  Stir in the cream and bring the soup to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with the squash seeds.