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Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

Adapted from Bon Appetite 1996

Ingredients

SOUP
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/4 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 tsp minced fresh sage
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp sugar

CROUTONS
2 Tbsp butter
24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp minced fresh sage

Instructions
For the soup:
Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. As butter begins to bubble, place onion and garlic in pot and sauté for about 10 minutes until tender. Add broth, squash and herbs to pot. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low an simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is very tender.

Puree soup in batches in a blender or use a hand blender to blend the soup in the cooking pot. Stir cream and sugar into blended soup. Bring soup to a slow simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

For the croutons:
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Arrange slices, butter side up on a baking sheet. Broil about 1 minute or until golden. Flip slices of bread over and spindle cheese, thyme and sage over unbuttered side. Season with salt and pepper. Return to oven and broil until cheese has melted. Serve atop or aside squash soup.