Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

I just improvised an amazingly delicious fall soup using ingredients I had around the house. Yes, I almost always have a butternut squash around the house this time of  year. It keeps a good long time and I love cooking with butternut squash (My fave other than soups? Jaime Oliver's butternut squash muffins with lemon sour cream frosting. OH YUM!). Anyhoot, I knew I wanted to use our garam masala with whatever I was making, so here is my recipe that turned out STELLAR if I do say so myself!

1 medium-large butternut squash
5 medium carrots, 1"+ chunks
1 large yellow onion, rough chop
2-3 cloves garlic, small chop
1 can chicken stock* (~15 oz)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp garam masala
1 stick butter, sliced into individual Tbsp pats
olive oil
salt and pepper
*you could sub veg stock if you want a fully vegetarian soup, of course

Preparing the Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Carefully slice butternut squash down center lengthwise. Poke a few holes with a knife or fork along the now cut surface of the thickest part of the squash halves.
Place each half face-up on a cookie sheet covered with foil.
Sprinkle each half generously with pepper, salt.
Divide half of the butter pats between the two slices, reserving the rest of the butter for later. Dot pieces along the top surface of each half of the squash.
Finish by sprinkling the brown sugar over the top of both squash halves.
Put cookie sheet with squash halves in oven and set timer for 45 minutes

Adding Carrots
Now roughly slice carrots into 1"+ thick chunks.
Toss in a Tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with salt
After the squash has been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the carrots to the pan and let cook the rest of the 30 minutes.
Don't worry if butter and/or brown sugar get on the carrots--that's a Good Thing.

When the timer goes off, give your veggies a poke with a fork and make sure they are soft. You don't want them mushy, per se, but soft enough to mash with a fork without too much effort. If they need more time, do it in 5 minute increments and keep checking back.

When done remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Then scoop the squash from its skin (or peel the skin away from the squash, whatever works), and put in a bowl with carrots, mash roughly together with fork and hold to the side while you work on onions and garlic (they don't need to be mashed up much, just muddled together).

While the Squash and Carrots are Cooking
Roughly chop the onion and add to a large pan or stock pot over medium heat with olive oil. Cook until translucent.
Roughly small-chop garlic, add to pan along with remaining butter when the onions are translucent.  Cook another 3-5 minutes until garlic scent begins to release.

Bring it together
Add squash/carrot mash to pan and mix together with spatula.
Sprinkle garam masala over the top and incorporate.
Put all into a blender, or blend with hand-blender in the pot, with the can of chicken stock. If you want it a little thicker, don't use your entire can (I used about 3/4 of my can for the thickness I wanted--just add a little at a time until you reach desired thickness).

If you plan to eat it right away, heat a little longer to finish incorporating all the elements. Otherwise, transfer to your preferred storage container and put in fridge. Just spoon up desired amount into a pan and heat over medium heat until desired temp.

For dinner, 5-minute butter-sage chicken alongside this bowl of deliciousness would be a great accompaniment...which is just what I am doing tonight!

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