I've tried several butternut soups and this is the best of the bunch. Every part of the squash gets used, adding lots of flavor. You can store it in the refrigerator (or so I hear) and reheat, but never boil, the soup.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and crosswise, scrape seeds and strings from squash and reserve.
- In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, saute the shallot in the butter until translucent, about 3 minutes; add the reserved seeds and scrapings and cook, stirring another 4 minutes.
- Add water and salt and bring to a boil; place a steamer basket in the pot; put squash in basket, skin side up; reduce heat to medium low, cover and steam 30 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Cool squash; remove flesh and set aside, throw away skins; strain the steaming liquid and throw away the solids; there should be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
- In a blender, puree the squash a bit at a time; add enough of the liquid to make a smooth and creamy consistency; transfer each batch to a saucepan.
- Stir in any remaining liquid, the cream and brown sugar; warm over low heat until hot; add nutmeg and salt to taste; serve in soup bowl and garnish with a sprinkling of paprika.