Roasted Squash, Pear and Ginger Soup

From Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.

-Preheat the oven to 425°F.

-Cut 1 large winter squash or two delicata squash in half, scrape out the seeds, then cut each half into thirds. Reserve all peels and seeds from squash for making soup.

-Quarter, seed and remove the stems from 3 pears.

-Cut a 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger into thin slices.

-Put the squash pieces in a large baking dish or roasting pan with the pears and all but a few slices of the ginger.

-Brush with olive oil, season with salt and bake until fragrant and tender, about 1 hour.

-Turn the pieces once or twice so that they have a chance to caramelize on more than one surface.

-If the squash seems very dry (some varieties are), add 1 cup water to the pan to create steam and cover with foil.

-When the squash is tender, transfer everything from the pan to a cutting board, add 1 cup water to the pan, and scrape to dissolve the juices, reserving the liquid.

-Scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skins. You should have about 2 cups.

-To make a stock, bring 6 cups water to a boil and add the seeds, the squash skins, the remaining ginger and ½ teaspoon salt.

-Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes.

-Meanwhile, melt 2 TBS butter in a soup pot.

-Add the pears, ginger and squash, then the reserved deglazing water.

-Strain the stock into the pot with the vegetables.

-Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

-Cool briefly, then puree until smooth.

-Serve as is or swirl in ½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream.