4 tsp olive oil
2 small butternut squash, peeled, cut into large chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 small tart apples, cored (but skin left on), cut into chunks
2 tsp sweet curry powder
1 heaping tsp ras el hanout
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
1 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
In a 6- or 8-quart stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat, and add the squash, sweet potatoes and onion. Stir and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent, and the squash is starting to lose its raw appearance. Add the apples, stir, and cook for 3 minutes. Add curry powder, ras el hanout, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes, or until the spices are a bit toasted. Add chicken stock, plus water to almost cover the vegetables. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook partially-covered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are quite soft.
Remove the pot from the stove, and puree with an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a blender or food processor) until smooth. Season with agave, lemon juice and black pepper and, if you want more heat, add a few drops of Tabasco sauce. Return the pot to the stove, and simmer over lowest heat for 5 minutes to blend the flavors; or, if you would like a thicker soup, continue to simmer, uncovered, to desired consistency.