This is a yummy, unexpected, and savory dish to serve in the winter…the combination of earthy roasted garlic, heady cumin, and sweet fresh marjoram can stand alone as a main course served with a side of my complimentary roasted garlic & rosemary bread.
1 large butternut squash
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter)
1 head of roasted garlic
2 boxes vegetable broth (32 oz each, I use Nature’s Promise Organic)
1 package Neufchatel cheese (8 oz.)…this is simply low-fat cream cheese
*you can skip this entirely, or substitute with unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon dried marjoram + several sprigs fresh for garnish
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Spoonful heavy cream
- preheat oven to 375 degrees
1) Peel squash, cut off ends, and slice length-wise (be careful, cutting through slowly and steadily), scooping out all seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with cracked black pepper & salt, and place to roast in oven. Squash should take around 45 to 1 hour; test with a fork through thickest part, squash is done with fork goes in easily.
2) Pull off loose skin from garlic, and chop tips off to reveal cloves. Set trimmed-side-up in foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with cracked black pepper & salt, pinch foil packet and place in oven along with squash to roast approx. 35 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant and fork inserts easily.
3) Meanwhile, set Earth Balance to melting over low heat in a large pot. Coarsely chop shallots and add to pot; simmer until transparent (3-5 minutes…be careful not to cook on a high heat or burn the shallots), add about 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, and then pour in vegetable stock.
4) Once garlic & squash have finished roasting, squeeze garlic out of peel & add to soup pot. Chop squash into 1 inch chunks, and add to pot along with any residue. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
5) Using either an immersion blender*, or a regular blender, blend contents of soup pot until pureed, adding 8 oz. package of neufchatel cheese until smooth & creamy. Stir in remaining spices to taste.
*Immersion blenders are designed to work for short (no more than 1 minute) bursts, and are therefore time-consuming for this process…I recommend a blender.
6) Ladle into serving bowls & garnish with fresh marjoram; swirl a spoonful of cream on top, if desired.