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Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream

5 T. butter

 2 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 cups)

 2 c. chopped leeks

 1/2 c. chopped peeled carrot

 1/2 c. chopped celery

 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped

 1 1/2 t. thyme (dry or fresh)

 1/2 t. crumbled dried sage leaves

 5 c. chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

 1 1/2 c. apple cider

 2/3 c. sour cream

 1/2 c. whipping cream

 Chopped fresh chives

 

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; saute until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Mix in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 c. cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to pan. Boil remaining 1/2 c. cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 c., about 5 minutes. Cool. Place sour cream in small bowl. Whisk in reduced cider. Bring soup to simmer. Mix in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with cider cream. Top with chives. Serves 10.

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