I've adapted this recipe a little. It is good, and not overly spicy. Perfect on a cold day and pretty simple to make.

Spicy Squash Soup
Recipe created by Art Smith
Cooking with Art Smith
Serves 8-10
The vibrant flavors of the Caribbean influence this soup. Any winter squash will do—calabaza, butternut or Hubbard squash—or a cooking pumpkin, such as a sugar pumpkin. Calabaza and plantains are available at Latin markets. If you can't find green plantains, use a hard green banana. The broth is quite thick. I thin it a little with organic apple cider and it tastes great.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped
* 3 celery ribs, chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon Madras-style curry powder
* 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, halved and baked cut side down in oven in one inch of water until tender (about 30-35 minutes)
* 2 green plantains, peeled and cut up -- I used two ripe ones and they were fine, but green gives a better flavour
* 6 cups chicken or veggie broth, as needed
* 2 sprigs of fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 2 sprigs of fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
* 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
* Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the squash and plantain, then the broth, oregano and sage. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In batches, pulse the soup in a blender or food processor to make a chunky puree. Return to the pot and season to taste with the hot sauce and salt and pepper. Reheat until piping hot. Add apple cider to taste if you like a thinner broth.

Toast pumpkin seeds in oven or under broiler but keep an eye on them as they "pop" quickly.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the pumpkin seeds and chives. Serve with good, crusty bread.

**Do not leave out the pumpkin seeds as they really make the dish.