Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Candy Walnuts

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it's all I've been thinking about. The sweet potato pie, the pecan pie, the turkey, my sister in law's cornbread stuffing, etc. I wanted to make something for dinner that was not heavy like the Thanksgiving meal but still echoed those fall flavors. Plus, it was freezing yesterday and I wanted soup before another attack of the flu could get to me. I think that's reason enough. Here goes...

Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Candy Walnuts

1 Tbs. Butter
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Shallots, or 1 Small Onion, diced
1 Stalk of Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 Package of Pre-Cut Butternut Squash
4 Small Potatoes, quartered
4 Cups of Veggie  Stock
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 Tsp. Cumin
Freshly Cracked S&P

Start by heating up 1 Tbs. of butter and olive oil in a soup pot. Add the Shallots, Celery and Carrot and saute until the veggies are soft and the shallot is transparent. Next add the Butternut Squash and Potatoes along with the stock and turn the fire up to a medium high heat. Add your spices, stir and cover for 30 minutes. You want the soup to condense a little so the texture becomes smooth and the flavor gets concentrated (If it becomes too dry, add more water). After 30 minutes it is optional to add a splash of milk and another dab of butter  for extra creaminess. Also, if your soup is not thick enough you can add a mixture of 1 tsp. flour with some cold water, mix it together and add into the soup. Once the soup has been cooking for 30 minutes, take it off the heat and blend with an immersion blender. 

While the soup is cooking you can prepare these simple Candied Walnuts to go on top...

1/2 Cup of Walnuts
1/4 Cup of Sugar
2 Tbs. of Honey
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg 
1/4 Cup of Shredded Coconut

Toast the Walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Add the sugar in a single layer over the walnuts and mix frequently. Do not leave the pan unattended or the sugar will burn. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the honey and spices. Lastly, add the coconut and stir to combine until all the sugar is caramelized and the coconut is toasted. Add them on top of the soup for an extra sweet and spicy garnish & Enjoy! 


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