Acorn Squash Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (1 onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 1/2 pounds acorn squash, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 French baguette, sliced into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces Gruyére, grated

1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic to the top of the onions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add the pumpkin purée, acorn squash, chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the acorn squash is very tender. Process the mixture, in batches, using a blender. Be sure to let the hot air to escape so you don’t have an explosions on your hands. Return to the pot, add the half-and-half, and heat slowly.

3. Salt to taste. The soup might need the remaining teaspoon of salt, or it might not, depending on the chicken stock you’ve used.

4. For croutons, pre-heat oven to 350F. Melt the butter in a medium-skillet over medium heat. Add sliced bread to skillet. When toasted on one side, flip and toast for a minute or two, or until golden brown. Take off the heat, top pieces of bread with cheese and transfer to oven for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve soup hot with melty, cheesy croutons.

Recipe adapted from Barefoot In Paris