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Roasted Butternut Soup

The fall season is the perfect time to indulge your love of Butternut Squash because squash is at the peak of freshness and very reasonably priced.  A fresh squash will keep well refrigerated, but try to use it within a week for the best flavor and texture.  A stale squash may be dry and mealy.  Roasting the squash cut side down allows it to retain moisture and vitamins—be sure to add any liquid from your roasting pan to the soup liquid!
Roasted Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, roasted

¼ cup sweet onion, minced

4 tbls butter

4 tbls chicken bouillon crystals (Knorr)

4 cups water (or just to cover)

1 large bay leaf

1 small cinnamon stick

1 pinch nutmeg

1 navel orange, zested

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp finely ground pepper

4 oz cream cheese

½ tsp chipotlé sauce (Bufalo), optional

With a large chef’s knife, slice the squash in half length wise and use a tablespoon to scoop out the pith and seeds.  Clean and dry the seeds and save for a suet recipe. (Nuthatches love butternut squash seeds!)  
Roasted Butternut Squash

Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange squash cut side down.  In a 375° F oven, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes, until the skin blisters.  Allow to cool; the skin should be easy to remove in strips by sliding a paring knife just under the skin, starting at the smaller end.  Chop the squash into chunks, 1-2 inches wide.

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and sauté onion until transparent.  Add some water and stir to dissolve the chicken crystals (or use stock).  Stir in bay leaf and cinnamon stick; add the squash and additional water, just to cover.  Simmer for an hour, stirring frequently.

Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and stir into soup, allowing it to melt. Stir in salt, pepper, and chipotlé sauce, and add the orange zest, reserving some zest for garnish.  Puré the soup using a hand blender or potato masher, or process batches in a stand blender or food processor.

Soup should be very thick.  Serve with beer or white wine and your favorite bread.

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