Winter Squash and Apple Soup

A garnish of fried mushrooms and a drizzle of spiced olive oil adds elegance and depth to this fragrant soup.

SERVES 6-8
INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE SOUP
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
2 acorn squash (about 1¾ lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½" cubes
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into ½" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

FOR THE GARNISH
1 cup canola oil
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. dried mint
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. paprika

DIRECTIONS:
Make the soup: Heat olive oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add turmeric, five-spice powder, squash, apples, and salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add stock, and bring to a boil; cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until squash and apple are tender, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup and then return it to saucepan. Stir in the lime juice and keep warm. Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Heat canola oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°; add mushrooms, and fry until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to paper towels to drain; set aside and reserve oil for another use. Wipe saucepan clean and add olive oil, mint, cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper; heat over medium-low heat, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. To serve, ladle soup into bowls; drizzle each bowl with some of the spiced olive oil and top with some of the fried mushrooms.