For the curried squash soup:
- 1 large butternut squash or other orange-fleshed squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and sliced
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 slightly round tablespoons prepared curry powder
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 Gala or other crisp apple, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Chopped scallions and cilantro, for garnish
For the apple and cheddar melts:
- 8 slices good-quality white bread
- Butter, softened, for spreading
- Prepared chutney, such as Patak's Major Gray Mango Chutney
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
- 1 Gala or other crisp apple, peeled and thinly sliced
Cook's Note: For a substitute for curry powder, combine 2 teaspoons turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoons each ground cumin and ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon each ground mustard and ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
For the curried squash soup: Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Dress the squash with the EVOO to coat lightly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg and coat with the curry powder. Drizzle the honey all over and roast until golden on the edges and very tender, about 25 minutes. The spices will toast with the squash and fill the air with a terrific aroma.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of EVOO in a soup pot over medium to medium-high heat, then add the butter to melt. Stir in the garlic, carrots, apple and onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, partially covered, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the stock and a drizzle of honey (or chutney). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. Add the roasted squash and puree with an immersion blender, thinning the soup with water, if necessary. The soup can alternately be pureed in batches in a food processor or a high-power blender. Adjust the seasoning. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal, bringing to room temperature before reheating over a medium flame. Garnish with the scallions and cilantro.
For the apple and cheddar melts: Spread each bread slice with softened butter on one side and chutney on the other. Fill the sandwiches, chutney sides-in, with the cheese and apples in the center. Griddle the sandwiches over medium heat until deeply golden and the cheese has melted.