Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds.
- Cover squash with olive oil.Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add maple syrup and garlic cloves in squash cavity.Place in 350*oven and bake for about 50 minutes until squash is cooked.Spoon out the cooked squash and garlic; set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Add a bit more maple syrup and cinnamon to taste.
- Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning with stock or water when reheating.)
- Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into a warm tureen, a ceramic bowl or 4 soup plates. If desired, garnish with a spoonful of sour cream and a scattering of pumpkin seeds.