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  • Pumpkin-Acorn Squash Soup

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  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, about 3 1/2 pounds
    1 medium acorn squash, about 2 pounds
    4 tablespoon butter, divided
    2 tablespoon honey, divided
    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
    1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
    4 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme
    4 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1/4 cup half-and-half
    1 teaspoon cider vinegar
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    Fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish
    Roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
    Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut the pumpkin and squash in half lengthwise, cutting through stem and bottom ends. Reserve seeds for another use. Place pumpkin and squash halves, cut sides up, in an aluminum foil-lined, shallow pan.
    In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave 2 tablespoons of the butter on high for 25 seconds or until melted; stir in 1 tablespoon of the honey and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Brush cut sides of pumpkin and squash with butter mixture.
    Bake pumpkin and acorn squash in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool completely (for about 15 minutes). Scoop out pulp, discarding shells.
    In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the thyme and saute for 1 minute.
    Stir in the broth and pumpkin and squash pulp. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
    In a blender or food processor, process soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to Dutch oven. Stir in the half-and-half, vinegar, spices and remaining honey and salt. Cook, over low heat, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
    Garnish with the thyme sprigs and pumpkin seeds, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
    VARIATION: For a quicker version, decrease butter to 2 tablespoons. Omit steps for baking pumpkin and squash and, instead, substitute 1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin and 2 (12-ounce) packages of frozen, cooked, pureed squash. Proceed with recipe, simmering soup for 6 minutes after adding canned and frozen pumpkin and squash, and stirring in 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt with half-and-half in final step.
    — Recipe from "Southern Living Home Cooking Basics."
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