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Homemade Butternut Squash Soup

This hearty soup makes a wonderful lunch on a wintery day. It smells delicious and is delicious. This recipe makes six servings. You can refrigerate it after it cools and reheat in the microwave or freeze some for a rainy day. Let it come to room temperature before reheating the soup after freezing.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash, halved (see tip below)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

5 cups low fat, low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

1 pinch of saffron

1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup Creme Fraiche or light sour cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking pan by rubbing a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Spread the oil using the corner of a paper towel. Peel the squash. Cut the squash in half and remove pulp and seeds. TIP: make squash easier to cut; pierce it with the tip of your knife several times and microwave it for 4 minutes on high.

Place the cut squash into the baking pan in a single layer. Drizzle the squash with the remaining olive oil, add salt and pepper. Roast the squash in the oven until tender, about 40 minutes. This adds flavor to the soup instead of just boiling the squash in the stock.

In a large heavy 6 quart pot, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the roasted squash and the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and using a blender, puree the soup working in batches. Return blended squash to pot. If you have an immersion blender, use it directly in the pot and puree the soup. This is a real time saver and much cleaner method.

If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock or water to the desired consistency.

In a small saucepan, heat 2 tsp olive oil and add the pinch of saffron; saute for 30 seconds. Add ½ cup of water to the saffron and stir it into the soup. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and add the Creme Fraiche or sour cream and stir completely until it is well blended. Serve hot. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

This soup is so easy to make and tastes so good, it will surely become a family favorite yet it is good enough to serve to company. The bright orange color of this soup looks great served in a plain white bowl.