Vegetarian recipe from "The Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between"

So I'm wandering the farmers' market, crunching leaves underfoot, smelling that wonderful fireplace smell, and admiring all the glorious produce.

And I'm thinking that nothing, but nothing, goes better with a snap in the air then a bowl of warm comfort. But, you know, outside of a very few soups, I'm not really a soup maker. Solution? Clearly, to turn to a cookbook.

And what book would an almost vegetarian turn to? Why one with the word flexitarian in the the cover. Of course!

Flexitarian. What a silly word. It just means almost vegetarian, which I think (of course!) is a far better phrase. But, hey, the concept is the same, which is why I picked up a copy of Peter Berley's book The Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between ($30). And I'm sure glad I did.

Here is the recipe I grabbed. Delicious? Indeed!
Vegetarian recipe: Roasted Squash Potage with Spiced Crème Fraîche

3 pounds winter squash (Kabocha, acorn,or butternut), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Bouquet Garni
A small handful of celery leaves
3-4 fresh sage leaves
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves

Spiced Crème Fraîche
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt or kosher salt
Cinnamon, preferably freshly ground, for sprinkling
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the Soup
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the oil and season lightly with salt. Spread the squash out and roast, turning several times, until tender and lightly caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, in a 4 to 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Stir in the ginger and garlic, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice and lowering the heat if necessary to keep the vegetables from browning, until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat if the squash isn't done.

For the Bouquet Garni
Bundle the ingredients in a square of cheesecloth and tie it with kitchen twine.

Add the stock or water, apple cider or juice, and roasted squash to the soup, stirring well. Add the bouquet garni and raise the heat to bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the Crème Fraîche
In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche or sour cream with 5 or 6 gratings of nutmeg, several grinds of black pepper, and a pinch of salt.

Discard the bouquet garni. Pass the soup through the fine holes of a food mill or puree using an immersion blender or, working in batches, in a regular blender. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat the soup if necessary.

Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of spiced crème fraîche, a dash of cinnamon, and a sprinkling of parsley.

Same great taste for a lot less work
That is a glorious soup. But it's a lot of work, isn't it? So I wonder if there are any other recipes, ideal for this time of year? I bet there are. And I'll make it my job to find one and post it by this Monday. Hey, it's a great excuse to go back to the farmers' market!