A unique, spicy version of a classic autumn soup. (Photo from Chef Shannon Bard’s new cookbook, “The Gourmet Mexican Kitchen” (Ted Axelrod))
Shannon Bard, a rising star of the New England culinary scene, credits her family for inspiring her passion for authentic, seasonally influenced Mexican dishes with a bold, innovative flair.Shannon, along with her husband, Tom Bard and long-time friend, Sergio Ramos, opened Zapoteca RestauranteY Tequileria in Portland, Maine. The team opened its second restaurant, Mixteca Taqueria Y Cantina, in Durham, NH in March, 2013.
"I often serve a version of this soup at many of my restaurant’s chef’s tasting dinners and have even prepared it for a dinner at the James Beard House. The long list of ingredients might seem daunting but once all of the components are organized, the soup is quite easy to complete and the flavors are absolutely amazing," said Shannon Bard, a chef that specializes in South-of-the-border cuisine. Chef Bard will be appearing at Portland, Maine's Harvest on the Harbor fest, October 22-25.
- 2 Pounds (about 2) Butternut Squash, Peeled, Cleaned and Diced into 2 inch pieces
- 2 White Onions, Medium Sized, Peeled and Quartered
- 5 Garlic Cloves
- ½ tsp Cinnamon, Ground
- 1 Orange, Cut in Half
- ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ Cup Orange Juice
- 3 Whole Allspice Berries
- 5 Whole Black Peppercorns
- 2 tsp Salt
- 3 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
- 2 Poblano Chiles, Roasted, Stemmed and Seeded
- 4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- Grated Chocolate
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large roasting pan, combine the diced squash, onion, garlic, cinnamon, orange, brown sugar, olive oil, orange juice, allspice, and peppercorns. Toss to thoroughly combine.
Top the squash mixture with fresh thyme sprigs and cover tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast for 1 hour until the squash is fork tender.
Remove the pan from the oven and discard of the orange halves and thyme sprigs. Puree the roasted vegetable mixture in blender (or with immersion blender) along with roasted-peeled Poblano peppers and chicken stock. Blend until all is extremely smooth.
Add the roasted vegetable puree to a large stock pot. Stir in the heavy cream and nutmeg. Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.
Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 30 minutes until all flavors are thoroughly combined. Ladle into soup bowls and top with grated chocolate and additional nutmeg if desired.