1½ tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into1-inch cubes
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup Curried Maple Pecans (recipe on page 2), chopped
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tart apple, like Pink Lady, finely chopped
12 whole sage leaves
1 Make the soup: In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions, plus salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring frequently, for 12 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown and caramelized. Add the squash and cook 5 minutes, stirring well. Raise the heat to high, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender when tested with a small, sharp knife. Let cool slightly.
2 Working in batches, puree the soup in the container of a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat. (The soup can be made a day ahead of time, covered and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 3 months.
3 Place the hot soup in serving bowls and top with some of the chopped pecans, goat cheese, apple, and sage leaves. Serve any remaining pecans, cheese, or apples on the side.
Add chopped ripe pear instead of apple.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro to the soup with the broth and sprinkle another tablespoon on top just before serving.
Sauté the apple slices in1 tablespoon butter for 1 to2 minutes on each side, or until just turning golden brown.