Annie's Amazing Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion or 2 shallots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1-2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Alternative Ingredients:

2tsp golden brown sugar
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/4 cinnamon stick
2 T dry white wine or sherry
Raisins
Seeded, peeled chopped apples

Directions:

Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender). Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

A variation would be: Bake the squash first, split it, take out the seeds and bake it cut-side-down in the oven at 375 for about an hour. The skin just peels itself off! Very easy. You can replace the potatoes with sweet potatoes and added some garlic and a pinch of curry powder. Serve soup with a big dollop of sour cream You can also add some cayenne powder for heat and a little nutmeg.