Fall for SAGE-INFUSED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: An Autumn Recipe That Will Warm You By the Bowlful Without the Guilt

Fall is upon us, whether the weather wants to admit it or not. Thus the squash sweetness of the butternut variety must be put to good use. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this recipe for my sage-infused butternut squash and carrot soup could not be more appropriate. Better yet, it's a quick one-potter, so no dirty dishes from this beautiful blend. Let the fall fragrances of cinnamon spice permeate your kitchen - even before November hits!

For 3-4 servings:
(Multiply the quantities for a larger batch; you can never have enough of this taste and it freezes well.)
  • 1.5 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 20 oz. stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 2-inch cube of fresh ginger
  • fresh sage leaves, whole
  • grated zest of 1 large orange
  • ground cinnamon, 2 tblspns
  • curry powder, 2 tblspns
  • garlic powder, 1 tblspn
  • roasted pumpkin seeds
In a large pot on medium high heat, brown your onions until they are sticky and translucent. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with a bit of stock. Add the squash and carrots, allowing these to brown and soften as well (about 10 minutes). Turn your heat to medium and add the cinnamon, curry powder, garlic powder, garlic and ginger, allowing these flavors to infuse the vegetables (5 minutes). Deglaze the pan again by adding the rest of the chicken stock, orange zest, and the fresh sage leaves. The latter is a key ingredient that will give the soup a wonderful depth of flavor.

Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then set to low. Cover it, forget it, and let it simmer away. The secret is: the longer it stews, the richer the flavors will be. Low and slow is ideal (1.5 hours), but of course, there is no time minimum.

When you are ready, take the pot off the heat and whip out the blender. Remove the sage leaves (as they are pungent enough as an infusion) and puree all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. You will be amazed at the viscosity of this soup sans the heavy additives of flour, oil, butter, or cream.

You are now ready to plate, er, bowl. Ladle the glorious emulsion into a deep bowl and finish with a healthy sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds for a pleasing nutty crunch. Radiating mellow sweetness, warm spice,  and aromatic sage, this healthy concoction is ideal for any feast (Thanksgiving included), where you don't have to feel guilty about gluttonously slurping away.

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