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Creamy Squash Soup



– 1 1/2 teaspoons Real California butter – 1 medium onion, finely chopped – 1 3/4 cup chicken stock or 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth – 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled, diced – 1 teaspoon dried thyme – 2 cups mashed cooked winter squash, such as butternut, acorn, or pumpkin* – (A 1 3/4- to 2-pound squash makes about 2 cups mashed) – Juice of 1 orange plus 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel – 2 cups Real California milk – Salt and pepper – 1/4 cup plain Real California yogurt – 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (optional)
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Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook about 10 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add chicken stock, potato, and thyme; cover and cook about 20 minutes, or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. If a smooth soup is desired, place cooked potato mixture along with mashed squash and orange juice in container of electric blender; cover and process until smooth. Return mixture to pan; stir in orange juice, peel, and milk. (For soup with more texture, eliminate the step in the blender and mash vegetables with a fork to the desired texture.) Season with salt and pepper. Place over medium-low heat and cook until thoroughly heated. Meanwhile, stir together yogurt and nutmeg or horseradish, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls and top with yogurt sauce.

Makes 4 servings; about 5 1/2 cups

*Cook squash in its shell, and then scoop out the cooked flesh. Mashed cooked squash can be stored up to 3 days in the refrigerator or frozen up to 6 months.

Oven Method: Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down in a baking dish covered tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour. Test for tenderness by piercing with a fork. When the squash is cool, scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.

Microwave Method: Pierce shell of squash in 5 or 6 places with a sharp knife; arrange in paper towel–lined microwave oven. Cook on high until tender (7 to 12 minutes depending on size.) Turn squash once or twice during cooking. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut squash in half; scoop out and discard seeds. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.