Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 We harvested about half a dozen butternut squashes out of our garden this year, and they are so yummy! My favorite way to eat them is cubed and roasted, they're SO good! I was looking for a way to mix things up an found this recipe for butternut soup. It looked easy and yummy, so I went for it, making a few little tweaks to the recipe here and there. The instructions seem long, but this is not a complicated dish and comes together in an hour or less, even if you have three kids hanging on you or otherwise demanding your attention while you make it (see bonus step).

 What you Need:

- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1/2 in cubes
- oil (I used canola, but you could use olive oil, or vegetable oil, or whatever you have)
- herbs/spices of choice (I used Herbes De Provence, other possibilities are an Italian herb blend, or ginger and curry)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 in cubes
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 1/2 in slices
- 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tsp celery seed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-6 cups chicken stock or broth
- milk (optional)
- sour cream (for garnish, optional)

 What you Do:

Basically all you have to do is roast all the veggies, throw everything in the blender, warm it up, and serve. Just in case you want more detail than that, here you go...

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
2. Prepare your garlic head for roasting by slicing the top of it off and drizzling some oil over it. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are some better instructions. Wrap in tinfoil and place in the oven. You want this to cook as long as possible, so get it in first and make sure it's the last things you pull out when they're all done. 
3. Put your squash cubes in a bowl, drizzle with a 1-2 TBS oil and sprinkle with herbs of choice and salt/pepper. Toss with a spoon so your cubes are evenly coated in oil. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. The goal is to use enough oil that all the surfaces on the squash cubes end up with a light coat of oil, but not so much that you have a puddle of oil in the bottom of the bowl after you toss the squash.
4. Working with one veggie type at a time, follow the same instructions as in step 3 for the potatoes,  onions (toss these gently so the layers don't fall apart), and carrots, EXCEPT don't put the herbs on them; just oil, salt, and pepper. I kept my veggie types separate in case the roasting times were different and I needed to pull something out of the oven before the rest were done.
5. Place sheet pan in oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Using a spatula turn all the veggies over and put back in to continue roasting. Check every ten minutes for doneness by stabbing with a fork. If the veggie is soft and easy to pierce then it's done. All of mine were done about the same time, but if yours aren't just take what's done off the pan and put the rest back in.

6. When all your veggies are tender and the smell is so amazing you're about to lose your mind, remove them all from the cookie sheet (Remember that bowl you used to oil them up? It works great to store them all in for a few minutes). While you want some yummy browning on your veggies, if you have any little bits that seem too burned (some of my onion layers got a bit overdone), make sure to discard those. Place the sheet pan over a stove burner turned on to low heat, and pour in a small amount of chicken broth (1/2 cup?). Cook and stir, scraping all the yummy caramelized brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Once you have gotten all the good stuff stirred in, take it off the heat, and pour the goodness into your blender.
7. Remove your garlic head from the oven and unwrap the foil so it can cool enough to work with. You can turn your oven off now.
***Bonus step: Extricate your 5 year old from the exersaucer:
 8. Dump your veggies in the blender, along with the celery seed and enough chicken broth/stock to cover everything. If you want a silky smooth soup add them all now, but if you want a bit of texture than reserve a handful of squash cubes. Pulse a few times to break up most of the big chunks, stirring and adding more broth (or milk for added richness) as necessary. Your garlic is probably cool enough to handle now, so squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin and add those to the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if desired. If you saved some squash for texture, add those now and pulse until desired texture is reached.
9. If blending your soup has cooled it too much to serve, warm it up in a pot on the stove. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired (yum!).

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