Roasted-Squash-and-Parsnip Soup


4 pounds honeynut or butternut squash, halved lengthwise (from 2 to 3 honeynuts or 1 large butternut)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying and drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound parsnips (4 to 5 medium), peeled and halved lengthwise

2 pounds leeks (3 medium), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thoroughly washed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves, plus whole leaves for frying

2 Granny Smith apples (1 pound), halved and cored

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1 stick unsalted butter

Toasted pepitas, toasted sesame seeds, and poppy seeds, for serving
DirectionsInstructions Checklist
Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Scoop seeds and pulp from squash; discard. (Or lightly coat seeds in oil, season with salt, and roast on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp and darkened slightly, about 20 minutes; let cool and reserve for garnish.) On a rimmed baking sheet, rub squash halves with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt; turn cut-sides down. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss parsnips and leeks with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt, and sprinkle evenly with thyme and chopped sage; spread in a single layer.

Step 2
Roast 30 minutes. Add apples to sheet with squash, cut-sides up. Continue roasting until vegetables turn golden brown in places and are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes more. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from squash; transfer half to a blender with half of other vegetables and apples, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed if too thick to self-level. Pour through a sieve into a pot. Repeat process with remaining vegetables, apples, broth, and 1 more cup water.

Step 3
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until fragrant and golden brown and dark-brown sediment particles form in bottom of pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir brown butter into soup; season with salt and pepper. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary until it reaches desired consistency.

Step 4
Wipe pan clean. Heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high. When it shimmers, add a handful of sage leaves; cook, stirring a few times, until darkened slightly, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels, season with salt, and let stand until cool and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Fry more sage as desired. Serve soup topped with crisped sage, pepitas, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and a drizzle of oil.