This is the perfect soup for the fall season, and it is easy and fast to make. You can substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian.
The herbs and cayenne pepper are a good balance to the natural sweetness of the butternut squash.
1 – large butternut squash
2 – tbls. butter
1/2 – cup diced shallot
2 – stalks celery
2 – cloves garlic
4 – cups chicken stock (organic preferred)
2 – bay leaves
3 – sprigs of fresh thyme
3/4 – tsp. salt
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 – tsp. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Sour cream for serving
Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash, then cut it into 1-2 inch cubes. Heat 2 tbls. butter in a large stock pot, and meanwhile dice the shallot, cut the celery in small pieces, and peel and smash the garlic with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add them to the pot and sauté until the onion just starts to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the butternut squash, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and salt. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and thyme. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth and creamy. If you use a regular blender you will need to do it in two or three batches. Be very careful with the hot soup in the blender. Hold down the lid and always remove it facing away from you. The steam from the hot liquid can blow off the lid.
Return the blended soup into the pot and add black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper (optional). Serve immediately. A spoon of sour cream is a nice compliment to the soup, if you like.