• 2-3 leeks finely chopped
• 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
• 3-4 large carrots finely chopped
• 3 celery spears finely chopped
• 1 Granny Smith apple chopped
• 3-4 garlic cloves crushed
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 6 cups chicken/vegetable broth
• 1⁄2 cup cream
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 3 medium butternut squash halved lengthwise
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 3 tbsp honey
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place the squash in a roasting pan cut side up. Generously drizzle with the olive oil and honey then season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan and cover with foil.
3. Roast for 50 – 60 minutes or until the butternut is completely tender and starting to caramelize.
4. Remove from the oven then scoop out and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh and save until later: discard the skin.
5. Put the onion, leeks, celery and carrot in a large pot and fry with olive oil until soft then add the apple, garlic and herbs.
6. Cook until the vegetables are tender then add the roasted butternut and chicken stock.
7. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes to ensure all the vegetables are tender and the stock has slightly reduced.
8. Remove the bay leaves and thyme if using fresh sprigs and let cool a little before transferring small batches to a blender to blend until completely smooth. Remember to leave a hole in the lid of your blender to let the steam escape. Use extra chicken or vegetable stock while blending as needed. Transfer each blended portion to another large pot.
9. Once everything has been blended add the cream and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper to taste. Bring back up to a simmer and serve with your favorite garnish.
10. Pumpkin seeds, pecans, croutons, kale chips, or crisp smoky bacon make for great garnish. Add a dollop of heavy cream, sour cream or yogurt for a tangy twist. If you don’t want all those extra calories, try coconut or almond milk. If you want a warmer flavor, sprinkle on some nutmeg or ground cinnamon. For a pop of color, top it off with chives or cilantro.