squash and sweet potato soup

1 cu pureed squash
1cu pureed sweet potato
1 cu chicken stock, thinned to taste with water

1.5 cu pinot gris or any crisp white wine
5 leaves lemon verbena, ground together
1 ginger sprout
1 toe garlic
half one nutmeg, ground, salt, pepper to taste

2 tbsp lemon scented olive oil
2 tbsp chopped green onions
inch square pugliese bread
saffron, as you have
paprika to taste

1 heat the squash and potato puree in the chicken/water mix. when reduced stir in the wine and the flavor mixture. bring to a quick boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes. pass the mixture through a sieve if it is not smooth. set aside to cool to room temperature. adjust taste with additional wine, salt and nutmeg.

2 heat the oil, wilt the onions, add and roast the bread till very crips. take off heat and cool somewhat, add saffron and paprika to finish. beware saffron and paprika burn easily, a warm pan will work fine. croutons should be crunchy and well coated with the spices.

3 add to soup just before serving.

i don’t know why, but i made this soup on one of the hottest days in portland. as usual it was an idea i hadn’t tried and wanted to test. i recommend to work this soup in an air-conditioned kitchen or to wait until cooler days are around. purees of squash and potato are usually available frozen, which helps a lot. if you should start ( as i did ) with uncooked vegetables you’ll have to do the puree thing, which means steaming or boiling the stuff until fork tender, then passing it through a foodmill (not a blender, it makes the too much mush) then proceeding as in above 1.