A filling, comforting and brightly-colored winter soup.
2 Butternut squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 celery stalks
2 cup chicken broth
⅓ cup sliced almonds
Halve butternut squash and place on a baking pan, cut side up, and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven until flesh is soft when pricked with a fork. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a stock pot over medium-low heat, sauté onion and celery until soft and shiny. Add chicken stock and water, about 4 cups of liquid total, and bring to a boil, then simmer several minutes more until the vegetables are soft.
Scoop the flesh from the squash and add to the soup, stirring to combine. If desired, puree the soup with an immersion blender for a smooth consistency. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a sprinkling of toasted almonds, see below.
To toast almonds, place sliced or slivered almonds on a baking pan and toast in a 350 degree oven, shaking the pan frequently, until almonds are fragrant and a medium brown color. Watch carefully as they toast quickly and burn easily.