2 large acorn squash Melted butter, for brushing 1 tablespoon sea salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 1⁄2 cups chicken or vegetable stock 3 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1⁄2 cup heavy cream 1⁄8 teaspoon sweet paprika 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste) Zest from one small orange, optional Additional salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Carefully halve the squashes horizontally and scoop out the seeds from each half. (Tip: winter squashes, notoriously hard to cut into, are made easier to slice when stabbed with a fork a few times to make vent holes then microwaved for a minute or two.) Cut the squash into wedges. Lay the squash flesh side up on a sheet pan and brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for about 35 or 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, maple syrup and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using an immersion blender or in a blender in batches. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with sweet paprika, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, orange zest, salt and pepper. Serves 4.