Curried butternut squash soup

Low-fat, spicy and full of vitamins this tasty soup will warm you on cool days.
This tasty, golden soup – with a hint of curry and sweetened with a touch of maple syrup – has converted even diehard vegetable-haters into squash-lovers. There are many versions of this now-popular soup. This one is easy and delicious, and the seasoning sets it apart from blander versions. This soup is also very easy to make, so it is a perfect starter for dinner parties. You can make it advance and focus on your other courses. It has no added starch, butter, or cream, so it very healthful.
 
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1-2 inches of ginger grated (use more if you like it hot and spicy.)
 
For the curry powder, use your own blend or any good store blend you like. Again this is soup, not Indian cooking, so a store blend is fine. Sherwood’s madras curry mild or a Jamaican curry work well. 
 
2 quart/liter boxes of organic chicken stock or broth. I use chicken, but you can use vegetable stock if you have a vegetarian in the house!
 
5 cups of butternut squash peeled and chopped into about 1- to 2-inch cubes.
Use pre-peeled fresh or frozen squash. I prefer peeled and cut squash, as butternut is very hard to cut and peel. Frozen is fine for soup.
 
Sauté your onions, garlic, and ginger. Do not brown. Add 1 heaping tbsp. of curry powder and stir. Add the curry powder a little at a time if you are not familiar with it. You don’t want it too hot and spicy. Go slow – you can add more, but it is hard to take out. Add the squash and cover with the stock. Simmer until the squash is tender. After 30 minutes, check the squash with a fork. Turn off the heat, and when the squash is tender, mash it with a potato masher. Really go at it; this makes the soup easier to blend. 
 
If you want to finish the soup in the pot with a stick blender, begin to add more stock until the soup has a nice thick consistency. If you intend to purée the soup in a food processor or blender, it is easier without additional stock in the pot to splash at you. Then transfer the puree back to the pot to be thinned. After you thin the soup with additional stock, add 1 to 2 tbsp. of maple syrup. Stir and taste. Also correct and add salt and pepper. I often add the juice of half of a lemon as well as an additional tsp. of curry powder. 
 
This soup is a crowd-pleaser served on its own with a few fresh cilantro leaves on top, or a dollop of low-fat sour cream or yogurt. Everyone loves it, including picky children. It makes a grand lunch or light supper with any type of sandwich or salad. The only problem is that the pot seldom lasts out the day, even in my small household.

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