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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

For day #30 of Soup Month we bring you an elegant Butternut Squash Soup that is so beautiful it will be the highlight of your next holiday dinner.  It's always amazing to me how just a few simple ingredients can blend together so well that they create a soup this tasty.  I know a lot of people are hesitant to cook with a butternut squash because they look so intimidating. But fear not, you don't need any special training to cut up a squash, just a good knife, and be careful.

1  Large Whole Butternut Squash (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1  Large Onion, peeled and sliced
2  Apples, cored, peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
4 cups  Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 TB  Cream  or  Half and Half
Garnishes of Your Choice ** See below

Preheat oven to 375.  Rinse off the outside of the butternut squash and dry with a paper towel.  Carefully cut off the ends of the squash and cut the squash into large chunks, removing the seeds.  Do not peel.

Place the pieces of squash, onions and apples on a large rimmed cookie sheet.  Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and roast about 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until the squash is soft.  Set aside to cool.

Using a small paring knife, remove the skin from the squash.  Transfer the vegetables to a large stockpot.  Using a handheld blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. (You can also use a food processor for this step, just process the vegetables, in batches if needed, and return the puree to the pot.)

Add 2 cups of broth to the puree and heat mixture slowly over medium-low heat.  Keep adding a little bit of broth until you reach the desired consistency.  (You might not need all of the broth depending on the size of the squash used.)  When the soup is hot, slowly stir in the cream.

** Serve with a colorful seasonal garnish.  Chopped pimentos or red pepper bits with a few springs of fresh dill makes a beautiful display for Christmas. You could also use other fresh herbs such as a sage leaf with a spoonful of creme fraiche swirled into the center for a buttery-velvety texture.  Add a couple of Roasted Pumpkin Seeds for added crunch and you have a beautiful bowl of soup.
 Serves 6-8.

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