Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6-8

Festive holidays will be here soon! I hope yours (AND mine!) will include warm hugs, hearty laughter…and great food, of course. Just think of a meal starting with this creamy butternut squash soup. Not only will it whet your appetite for the meal to come, but if you make a larger batch, it can be a delicious complement to the sandwiches and salads you’ll build with your leftover “roast beast” or vegetables!

Ingredients
2-3 cups vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
1 Granny Smith apple
1 medium (about 3-4 lbs) butternut squash
1 white onion
1 sprig fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup canned (unsweetened) coconut milk

Garnish: Sour cream or your favorite unsweetened non-dairy substitute; sage leaf or chopped Italian parsley to sprinkle on top.

Prep
Wash and dry apple and all vegetables.
Cut apple into quarters and remove core pieces.
Peel and seed squash; peel carrot, onion, celery and garlic. Rough-cut all (they will be pureed later).

Directions
Add 2 cups vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, celery, apple, squash, onion, sage, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg a large stockpot.  Stir to combine.

Cook on medium-high until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are all tender and mash easily with a fork. Add up to 1 additional cup of broth during simmering, if needed, for longer cooking to tenderize the vegetables. Remove and discard the sage.  Stir in the coconut milk.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  If you prefer, you can transfer the soup in batches to a traditional blender and puree until smooth, being extremely careful not to fill the blender too full with hot liquid.)  Season the soup with additional salt, pepper and cayenne to your taste.

Serve warm, topped with your desired garnish.

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