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Butternut Harvest Bisque

Butternut Harvest Bisque
1 – 3 lb. butternut squash
1 large onion
2-1/2 T. butter
2 large tart apples, peeled & chopped
1 large ripe pear, peeled & chopped
3-1/2 c. chicken broth
2 t. fresh thyme
1 t. fresh sage
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 bay leaf
½ t. salt
½ t. pepper
½ to 1 c. half-and-half
3 T. sherry (optional)

Garnish:
2 T. finely chopped walnuts

Cut the squash into halves lengthwise and discard the seeds. Peel with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks.

Sautee the onion in the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until tender. Add the squash, apples, pear, and chicken broth. Add the thyme, sage, nutmeg, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the saucepan. Simmer 20 minutes or until the squash is very tender.

Cool to room temperature; discard the bay leaf. Puree the mixture in 3 or 4 batches in a food processor. Combine in a clean saucepan. Stir in the half-and-half and sherry. Adjust the seasonings. Heat just to the simmering stage; do not boil.

Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with the walnuts. Serves 7 or 8.

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