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Butternut                                   Squash Soup With Herbs

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut
into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 large ribs celery cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
or coarsely chopped onions
3 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant vegetable stock powder
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 teaspoons fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or thinly sliced
scallion greens for garnish

Using the food processor, finely chop the squash in several batches.
(You should have about 5 cups.)
Transfer to a large bowl. Finely chop the celery.
Set aside with the squash.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and saute the leeks for 1 minute.
Add the water and stock powder and bring to a boil over high heat.
Stir in the squash, celery, oats, basil, and salt
and return to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook at a gentle boil
until the squash is very soft, about 15 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender
(or cool slightly, then transfer in small batches to a food
processor or blender and blend until smooth).
Stir in enough vinegar to heighten the flavors.
Add a bit more salt if needed, and reheat if necessary.
Garnish with the chives.

Makes 4 servings

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Last Update: 03/27/2000