Spiced Carrot and Squash Soup
From: Home Cooking Montana
1/2 butternut squash, diced (about 2 cups)
1 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder or use chile flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4-1/3 cup half and half, (you could use cream or milk)
croutons for garnish
Parmesan for garnish
fresh thyme for garnish
To a large pot, add 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Heat oil and add chopped onion and garlic. Season with a bit of salt. Saute on medium-low heat until onion is soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add diced carrot and squash. Saute for a minute or so. Add 1 cup chicken stock, making sure the vegetables are mostly covered in liquid. Add chipotle pepper or chile flakes, thyme and nutmeg. Season with a bit more salt, if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 15 to 30 minutes.
Place cooked squash and liquid in a blender. Blend till smooth. Place the pureed mixture back into the pot. You can leave it the way it is, a bit thick, or you can thin it out with either heavy cream or you can opt to use a lower fat version by using half and half, milk or even add more chicken stock. You might need to adjust the amount of liquid by adding more or less ...depending on how thin or thick you want your soup to be.
Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with thyme leaves, croutons, Parmesan cheese or just leave it plain.
**You could easily convert this to a vegetarian recipe by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.**