This is my vegan version of a soup served at in a London restaurant, Tom's Kitchen, as featured in the book Long nights and Log Fires: Warming Comfort food for Family and Friends. This velvety smooth soup - a delicious mix of savory and sweet IS truly comforting!
Crisp-fried sage leaves:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Reserved sage leaves
While the squash cools, in a large saucepan, melt the margarine over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic, then sauté for about 6 – 8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are just beginning to lightly brown.
Stir in 3 cups of the water, McKay’s seasoning and sage, scraping up any stuck on bits from the bottom of the saucepan. Add the peeled squash; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To make the Crisp-fried sage leaves: Remove the sage leaves from the soup and place on a double layer of white paper towels. Blot dry.
In a medium-sized heavy skillet, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium-high. Arrange the sage leaves in a single layer in the hot oil and fry until browned and crisp. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and garlic. Place the leaves on a double layer of white paper towels and press very gently to remove excess oil.
Meanwhile, in a high-powered blender, blend the cashews and water to equal 1 cup until completely smooth. Stir the resulting cashew cream into the soup.
Using an immersion blender, if available, blend the soup right in the saucepan until velvety smooth. (Or, if necessary, blend in a conventional blender).
Add water, if needed, until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Loosely based by LuAnn Bermeo, author of Amazing Meals I and II, on a Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Honey, from the book, Long Nights and Log Fires: Warming Comfort Food for Family and Friends.