The flavor in this soup is wonderful – hearty and delicate at the same time. It thickened up quite a bit on me, becoming almost a stew, but a little extra chicken stock helped.
1 large butternut squash (about 1 ¾ lbs), halved and seeded
¼ cup olive oil, divided
6 fresh sage leaves
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups chopped onion (give or take)
¾ cup chopped leeks (white part only)
½ to 1 cup fat-free half and half
3 to 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
10 slices French bread
1 Tbl olive oil
pepper, sour cream, chopped parsley and sage as optional garnishes
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Rub inside of each squash with 1 Tbl olive oil, then fill each half with 3 sage leaves. Place squash face down on prepared sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, discard sage, then scoop out squash and transfer to a bowl. Set aside. Heat remaining oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Sauté apples, onions and leeks until apples are tender and onions are translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add squash, half and half and enough chicken broth to cover; simmer 5 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency, and then stir in additional chicken broth to desired consistency. Add salt to taste. To make croutons or crostini, drizzle the olive oil over the bread slices, along with a little salt and pepper and broil briefly in a toaster. Float the toasted bread along with additional garnishes on a serving of soup.