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Every year I struggle with what soup or gumbo to prepare for Christmas Eve…always hoping for a cold front to make it the “perfect” weather for a bowl of “something warm”.  And, believe me…I have run the gambit – every kind of gumbo known to man, turtle soup, mock turtle soup, oyster and artichoke soup, corn and crab bisque…you name it and I have cooked it!

But this year, after enjoying the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup at The French Press in Lafayette and Le Foret in New Orleans – I knew that I wanted to try my hand with this wonderfully rich soup…So, there you go!

My version of what I remembered from each of the soups I had tasted…

Ingredients:

4 large butternut squash – whole
3 medium onions diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 large carrots diced
2 apples chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
1 pint heavy cream or half and half
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
Salt
Grated black pepper
Marscapone cheese (for garnish)
1/2 pound bacon
Pumpkin seed oil for garnish (optional, but wonderful addition)

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Heat oven to 350 degrees and place butternut squash on cookie sheet (whole) for about 1 hour or until they are tender

Remove and let cool

Cut each squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds – discard

Scoop out all of the remaining flesh, cut into small pieces and place into a large bowl;

In a skillet, cook bacon until very crisp

Remove and crumble bacon (set aside for garnish)

Pour bacon drippings and 1/4 olive oil into Dutch oven

Add onions, celery, apples and carrots

Cook until veggies are soft, but not brown

Add squash, combine well and cook (stirring often) for about 30 minutes

Pour in chicken stock, spices, salt and pepper to taste

Stir to combine and simmer for an additional 45 minutes

Puree’ the soup mixture in a food processor or blender, in small batches;
(I poured the pureed mixture into a large bowl, then returned it to the dutch oven)

Adjust your seasonings and thickness – add more chicken broth or cream if needed – to create the consistency that you would like;

When you are ready to serve, ladle into cups or bowls, add a small dollop of marscapone cheese, a little of the bacon bits and a very light “swirl” of pumpkin seed oil!

This was a huge hit with my family…even those that are not big vegetable lovers! The one thing that made this soup really easy, was the roasting of the squash “whole”….those big old winter squash are really hard to cut when they are raw – roasting whole made it a breeze!

Now, you can substitute any winter squash with this recipe… acorn squash or any of the different types of pumpkins would be great.  And, if you really want to “outdo” yourself – top off this soup with a little jumbo lump crabmeat!

Not often do I make a soup that all of my family loves – but this rich creamy roasted butternut squash soup really worked some kind of “Christmas Magic”…that would work all winter long!

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