Winter Squash and Apple Soup
1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded
9 ounces carrots
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
3 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper
Cube the butternut squash. Peel and slice the carrots. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Peel, core and cut up the apples.
In a large pan, melt the butter and saute the onion to soften. Stir in the garlic, squash and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth and golden. Transfer back to pan and add salt and pepper to taste. Briefly reheat.
Serve with fresh croutons and cracked black pepper.
* Note: To increase the richness of this soup (and calories), add 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream during the final heating step.