Back in 2007, my sister, Ali, emailed me a recipe from a friend of hers in Houston.  The recipe was called "World's Best Soup."  The ingredients looked appealing and I thought it would have a chance of pleasing the divergent tastes in my family.  It was a huge hit, so much so, that my step-daughter still requests it every time she comes home from college, four years later.  With the cooler weather coming on, this soup does a great job of taking the chill out of your bones.  I think I will be making some this week.  You try it too and let me know if you think the name is an exaggeration.

World's Best Soup    

2 leeks (white & light green only) washed OR 2 onions
8 cups vegetable broth
2-3 lbs butternut squash
2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (I am going to try using maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
ground pepper (to taste)

Pierce butternut squash all around and put into microwave for 10 minutes.  Let cool.

Chop the leeks (or onion) and saute in a large pot for about 5 minutes until translucent.  I use a little vegetable broth or water to saute.  Add the vegetable broth, chickpeas, carrots, sugar, all spices, salt and pepper.  Scrape butternut squash out of skin, chop and mix to pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until both squash and carrots are soft, about 1 hour.  Let cool, then blend most of the soup.  Let cool, then blend most of the soup, leaving bits of chickpeas, carrots and squash for visual interest.