This soup is substantial and filling enough to stand alone as a lunch on a cold day, or can be an entree before dinner.
The nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper add an extra dose of spicy warmth to this creamy soup.
1 butternut squash (alternate: 2 acorn squash, or 1 pie pumpkin, or 4 large sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff - NOT the high fructose corn syrup mix!)
32oz (4 cups) vegetable broth
8oz (1 cup) heavy cream (it's ok to substitute whole milk or half and half)
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground ginger (or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste (there may be enough salt depending on which vegetable broth you use, taste first)
raisins to garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Paint the meat of the squash with the maple syrup using a kitchen brush. (Alternately, peel and halve the sweet potatoes and paint them with the maple syrup.)
Place the squash on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 1 hour, or until soft enough to scrape out of the shell easily.
Pour all of the vegetable broth into a blender. Add the nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and black pepper.
Remove the squash (or sweet potato) from the oven. Scrape the meat of the squash out of the shell and add to the blender mix. (Alternately, add the sweet potato to the blender mix.)
Blend the mixture until it is creamy without any chunks.
Pour into a pan and heat to a simmer. (You could also do this by zapping it in a microwave for 2 minutes.) Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream until combined.
Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with raisins if desired.
Eat and be warm!! :)
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