For the Bowls:
- 4 small baking pumpkins (such as hooligan or sugar pie) or acorn squash
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt
For the Soup:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ small onion, chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 medium butternut (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons
- heavy cream (optional)
- Freshly ground pepper
For the Toppings:
- Pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)
- Sourdough croutons
- Paprika, chili powder
- Crisp bacon
- Fried onions
- Fried parsley leaves
- Make the bowls:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Use a paring knife to cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin (make a zigzag cut, if desired). Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and fibers.
- Sprinkle the inside of each with ½ teaspoon each sugar and salt.
- Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet; roast until tender, 20 to 35 minutes, depending on their size.
- Meanwhile, make the soup:
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
- Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Strip the thyme leaves into the pot, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the squash and sugar and cook, stirring, until glazed, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender, crack the lid to let steam escape and puree until smooth; return to the saucepan (or puree directly in the pan with an immersion blender).
- Stir in the heavy cream, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, and top as desired.