butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
( 5 1/2 pounds)
extra virgin olive oil
( 2 ounces)
onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
fennel bulb, halved cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 inches
fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
( one 1-1/2-inch piece)
unsweetened coconut milk
( 1 can)
chilled heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons
fresh lemon juice
( not the bottled stuff)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Rub the cut sides of the squash with the olive oil and set them, cut side down, on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake the squash for about 1 hour, or until very tender.
- Remove from the oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.
- Spoon the squash flesh into a large bowl; discard the skins.
- In a pie plate, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant; let the nuts cool.
- In a large pot, melt the butter.
- Add the onion, fennel and ginger and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add the squash and the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover the pot and continue cooking until the squash starts to fall apart, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the pecans until they are finely chopped.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form.
- Fold in the chopped pecans, hazelnut oil and cayenne pepper and season with salt.
- Working in batches, puree the squash soup in a blender until smooth.
- Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of the pecan cream and serve.
- *The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- Reheat gently, adding a little chicken stock to thin the soup.
- Serve with a fruity, aromatic Viognier will have enough body to stand up to this rich soup. The 2006 Becker Vineyards Texas Viognier would be terrific; or consider the peachy 2006 Stags’ Leap Viognier from Napa Valley, an easier-to-find alternative.