Diena’s Creamy Squash Soup

The afternoon was very cold and windy. The power was out for 1.5 hours. We were planning on chicken, but when power was finally restored, we were hungry!
I got to work in the kitchen, grabbing some handy ingredients. He asked, “What are you making?” “It’s a surprise” I answered. He came in to check on things, so I put him to work frying up some crispy bacon.
When we sat down for dinner, Mike actually said that he’d rate it high and would have it again. That’s what I wanted to hear, because it’s for sure on my KEEPER list.  I hope you’ll give it a try, as it’s perfect for the cold days and nights of winter!

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 medium sized acorn squash
4 teaspoons butter
1-2 apples, peeled and chopped into small cubes (your choice of kinds of apples)
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 1/2 cups  water
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Garnishments: (optional but added so much)
pesto
crispy bacon

Here’s how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a  baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
Cut both squashes in half. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Discard seeds.
Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and place 1 teaspoon of butter over each half. Season the squash with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, covered with foil, and bake for about an hour or until the squash is tender and cooked thoroughly.
   ***NOTE: I was impatient after 40 minutes (remember, we were hungry) so I took the squash and placed them on a microwave-safe plate, covered with plastic wrap. I microwaved them until tender.
While the squash is baking, place the other 2 teaspoons of butter into a large sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Once melted, add the apple, onion, garlic, sage and thyme. Saute until all is softened, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
When the squash is done, allow them to cool enough to be handled. Scoop the squash from the shells and place it into the sauce pan along with the cooked apples and onion mixture. Discard the skin of the squash.
Add the water and broth to the sauce pan and season with more salt and pepper at this point. Place pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low heat and simmer about ten minutes.
Be sure to stir it occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat and add in the milk, slowly, while stirring.
Puree the soup or use an immersion blender or regular blender. Do this in batches if using the blenders. (Remove the small cap for the ‘vent’ at the top of the blender and cover with a kitchen towel or paper towel to prevent hot soup exploding all over.)
Serve in bowls, and garnish as desired.
Makes four  yummy servings. Great reheated too!

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