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Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Adapted from Food & Wine 1989

serves 8
4 ½ pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise
5 tbs unsalted butter
4 large leeks (white and tender green), chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 ¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ c sour cream
3 tbs chopped chives
8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled.

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Scrape the squash from the skin.

Meanwhile, in a large/heavy saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.

Stir in the stock and the squash. Simmer the soup over moderate heat for 20 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pan and season with the salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. Reheat before proceeding.)

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 teaspoon chopped chives and a sprinkling of the crumbled bacon. (**substitute the bacon for cooked and crumbled chorizo to make it spicy!)