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Maple roasted butternut squash soup

I always miss the sugar bush in the springtime. I grew up in Ottawa where school trips to the sugar bush to see how maple syrup was made were an annual treat. Here on Vancouver Island, where I now make my home, the closest I get to the sugar bush is picking up a bottle of the sweet golden syrup at my local food market. There's no hay ride involved, but I'll take what I can get.

At first I thought I'd make something sweet and rich with maple syrup this weekend, but then I started to play with savory options in my head and settled on maple roasted butternut squash soup.

Here's how I made it:

a 2 lb butternut squash
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
pinch nutmeg
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
fresh chives for garnish

While the oven preheated to 350 degrees (F), I peeled the butternut squash using a vegetable peeler, seeded it, chopped it into chunks, and spread the pieces out on a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, I mixed the maple syrup and oil. Using a pastry brush, all the pieces of squash were coated with the maple syrup mixture (my 3-year-old had fun "painting" the squash). The squash roasted in the oven for 50 minutes, flipping half-way through, until the flesh was soft and caramelized around the edges.

I heated a splash of vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat then added the onion, stirring until the onion softened. The roasted squash was then added to the pot, along with the thyme, nutmeg, chicken broth, and water. I allowed the soup to simmer for about 15 minutes. To finish, I used a potato masher to give the soup a rustic consistency (you could run it through the blender if you like a smooth consistency) and garnished with fresh chives.

Simple and delicious!

What did you make in your kitchen this weekend? What do you use maple syrup in? Been to a sugar bush recently?