Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Several weeks ago, a bunch of people came over to my place for vespers and S. brought this simply delicious soup. I loved it ( similar to Trader Joe's butternut squash soup) and am glad that she shared the recipe with me. It might look complicated but it is actually very simple to make.  :)
I used cashews instead of almonds and omitted the unsalted butter.

(Kurt Beecher Dammeier's Pure Flavor cookbook. 125 fresh all-American recipes from the Pacific Northwest.) Makes 10 cups, serves 6 to 8

The intense flavor of Autumn squash is magnified when turned into a smooth, luscious soup. Adding yams provides even more depth of flavor, and Middle Eastern spices keep the sweetness in check.

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons neutral flavored cooking oil, such as canola or soybean
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 3/4 pounds fresh butternut squash (1 large squash), peeled, seeded, cubed
1 1/2 pounds yams, peeled and sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage

In a heavy-bottomed 8-quart stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft but not browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute.
Add the butternut squash, yams, 8 cups of water, and salt. Simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Alternatively, pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and return it to the pot after processing.
Stir in the cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and black pepper. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, or black pepper as needed.
For the topping, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and saute until light golden brown, stirring frequently. Add the sage and continue to stir for 1 minute, or until the almonds are golden brown and the sage is fragrant. Remove the topping to a bowl to cool. To seve, garnish each bowl of soup with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the topping.

The soup will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Gently reheat over low heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.

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