Start off by making a vegetable stock. Chop a few carrots, a couple of heads of celery and a couple of onions. Throw it all in a pot with as much water as you can fit in, along with a few sprigs of thyme (optional) and a good shake of salt.
(Yes, I am quite incapable of measuring ingredients. I hold that patience in reserve for the science of baking.)
Set the stock pot on the stove and let it do its thing for a good 40 minutes or so - 10 of which will be consumed by the water heating up to a boil. By the end you should have a delicate, fragrant stock; just scoop out all the veggies with a slotted spoon. My husband insisted on saving these veggies. You'll see what happens to them soon - suspense!
Meanwhile, peel and cut 3 potatoes, 1 apple, ginger and garlic to taste. If you are patient enough to process butternut squash from scratch more power to you, but I settled for 2 pre-cut packets from Trader Joe's.
Heat olive oil in a large sturdy pot. Gently saute the ginger & garlic. Add the potatoes, apple and squash. Sprinkle generous quantities of salt, turmeric, paprika and garam masala (optional). Add only enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and let it all cook - about 20 to 30 minutes. If you play your cards right this should get done shortly after the stock is ready.
Add a couple of ladles of the stock water to the aforementioned sturdy pot and pour it into the food processor. (If you don't own one, do the best you can with a masher of sorts.) It will all come together quite nicely in less than a minute. Transfer the contents back into the pot, using some of the stock to wash out the mushy paste stuck to the food processor back into the soup - no waste! Bring the soup back to a gentle boil, adding stock as needed to bring it to the consistency you desire. Taste the soup - add salt, pepper, any other spices if needed.
And that's about it...unless you own a husband who insists on pureeing the veggies that yielded our stock. He's eating them as I write this..earning his world championship title as the human garbage disposal.
Freeze any leftover soup and stock in labeled ziploc baggies. Trust me on the labeling. We have way too many mystery bags in our freezer. At the time of freezing we were convinced we could distinguish items...NOT. Recently we could not even tell whether a soup like thingy with green bits was zucchini soup or lentils seasoned with curry leaves...
Here's what it looks like!