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Our Go-To Wintry Meal: Butternut Squash Soup

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Butternut squash soup – one of the (few) reasons I love the cold weather!  This winter fruit (I had to look that up on Wikipedia) is naturally sweet and creamy, with a starchiness that makes for a hearty side dish or main entree.

One of my pet peeves about other people’s butternut squash soups is when they contain added sugar.  It just doesn’t make sense why you would add anything that masks, rather than elevates, the aforementioned natural sugars.  Save that sucrose for your desserts, please!

I’ve found the fastest, safest way to peel a butternut squash is to cut off the top and bottom, then chop it into 3 inch disks.  Turn each disk onto its cut side, then slice off the peel.  No muss, no fuss.

This soup recipe couldn’t be easier or more versatile.  For our Christmas party, we even served it in shot glasses with cinnamon sugar crostini as a fancy appetizer.

House Butternut Squash Soup
Original Recipe

1 T olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions, diced
1 3-lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
5 fresh thyme sprigs, or 2 tsp dried thyme/oregano (double this amount if using vegetable broth)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or enough to just cover the squash)

Heat a medium pot with olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until soft but not brown.  Stir in squash and spices; cook for 1 minute.  Add enough broth to just cover squash (if it requires more than you have, supplement with water).  Bring to a boil over high heat; lower heat to medium high and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes.  Bring heat to low and remove bay leaf.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (or pour into a blender).  Gently simmer soup over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 minutes more (simmer longer for a thicker soup).  Add salt to taste.  Soup will thicken as it cools.

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