Butternut Squash Soup

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One of the many things I love about fall is eating seasonally and experimenting with fall flavors.  Fall is the perfect time to experiment with butternut squash, figs, root vegetables and all sorts of yummy produce and I always find myself craving a great, hearty soup around this time of the year.  A quick internet search for a great butternut squash soup recipe lead me to this with an almost perfect 5 star review average with over 1,900 reviews (!!!).  I knew I had to give it a try.  I adjusted it a tiny bit to make it slightly healthier and the end result was nothing short of incredible.  We served it with warm sliced sourdough bread and a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the hint of spice and creamy, buttery flavor one weekend when we had friends in town and we were thrilled with their feedback. This is something really great to make on a cool fall weekend so I wanted to pass it along.  Cheers!

Ingredients

6 tablespoons chopped sweet onion
4 tablespoons butter
1 5lb. butternut squash
3 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Apple Topping

1 apple diced (I used a fuji apple)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Season with garlic salt and olive oil.  Place in a baking dish cut side down and fill dish with 1″ of water.

2.  Roast squash for 45 minutes or until soft and tender.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Once squash is cool enough to handle, remove skin, discard seeds and dice remaining squash.

4..  In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

5.  Puree squash and cream cheese using a hand blender until smooth.  Heat for 10 more minutes (do not boil).

Directions for Apple Topping

1.  In a small pan, heat butter until melted.

2.  Add apple and brown sugar.  Saute on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

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