1 large or 2 small butternut squash, 3-4 pounds total
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (Olive oil works, too!)
2 cups chopped onion
1 chopped shallot, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks, about 2 cups
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream

Roast squash: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down on a nonstick baking pan. Pour 1/4 cup water into pan and roast for 45 minutes or until squash is tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (This step may be done the day before preparing the soup). Prepare soup: remove seeds and peel from roasted squash. Place cooked squash in a medium bowl and mash coarsely. Set aside. In a 6 quart saucepan, heat oil and add onion, shallot, ginger, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until onion is soft and begins to turn light brown, about 10 minutes. Add pears and cook another 5 minutes. Measure three cups of cooked, mashed squash and add to the saucepan. Stir in broth, honey and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Puree in batches in a blender or food processor, then return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and keep warm. Do not boil. Serve warm. Makes 9 Cups.

(October 2000 ed., Country Living magazine)

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