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Butternut Squash Soup with Leeks

1 lg Butternut squash - (about 3 pounds)
2 ts Olive oil
3 md Leeks
6 c Vegetable stock
1 tb Dried thyme
1 tb Salt (optional)
1 1/2 ts Black pepper
Coutons to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membrane. Place halves (cut-side down) on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until tender. Remove peel from squash when cool enough to handle. Mash or chop squash into chunks.

Meanwhile, cut off most of the green leaves from leeks (reserve for another use if desired). Slice leeks in half lengthwise and rinse well to remove all traces of dirt. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or soup pot and add leeks. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, until leeks are just barely soft. Stir in the squash, stock, thyme, salt and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup about 20 minutes. Serve soup topped with croutons.

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