Buttercup Squash Soup with Spiced Almond Butter

Serves 8
1 buttercup squash (cut in half and seeded)
1 ounce canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
½ vanilla bean
2 fresh bay leafs
¼ Scotch Bonnet chili
½ gallon chicken stock
¼ pound butter
salt and pepper
cider vinegar
molasses, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place in a baking pan cut side down and add water in the pan up to the rim of the squash. Cook until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. When squash is cool, scoop out flesh and reserve.
Place 1 ounce of canola oil in a sauce pan add the onion, carrot, chili, bay leaf and vanilla bean and sauté until tender. Add squash flesh to the sauce pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until every thing is tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree in blender (use caution when blending hot ingredients). Pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove any remaining fiber. Place the soup back into a sauce pan, and finish with the butter, a splash of cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and molasses to taste. Keep hot for service.
Spiced Almond Butter:
1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup toasted almonds
salt pepper
1 tablespoon fines herbes
1 bunch parsley
In a food processor, place almonds and butter and puree. Add salt and pepper and Napa spice. Fold in chopped parsley.
To Serve:
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the almond butter. Enjoy.