Creamy Butternut Bisque

Can be made with pumpkin, buttercup or Hubbard squash.

Handful of pecans for garnish
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white parts only, carefully washed and coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 fresh jalapeno chili, seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 cups of chicken stock or water
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Let cool slightly then chop finely. Set aside.

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add leeks, celery, carrots, ginger, and jalapeno and saute about 15 minutes or until wilted. Stir in the squash and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until all vegetables are very soft.

Let cool slightly, then working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and stir in cream. Heat through, but do not allow to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual bowls, sprinkle with pecans and serve. Serves 6 to 8. I dot it with sour cream and use 1/2 jalapeno.

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