Saturday, October 27, 2012

butternut squash and apple soup

my new favorite fall produce has to be the butternut squash. roasting it cubed or in slices brings out the sweetness to balance out a savory entree, it works wonderfully as an addition to vegetable soups, or it stands out as the main flavor in this butternut squash and apple soup.

if you start out with a large squash, you may not need to use the whole squash. about a 2 lb squash should give you all you need for this recipe. aim for about 5-6 cups cubed. even if you alter the proportions of the ingredients, it will still taste awesome, so don't get too caught up with the measurements.

the hardest part of the recipe is cutting up the squash, so use your sharpest knife. cut the squash in half, separating the bulb from the top of the squash. start with the bulb and slice it in half. scoop out all the seeds and strings.

peel both the bulb and the top part of the squash. i find that its easiest to peel the bulb part crosswise because the peeler works well on the curve.

for the top part of the squash, slice it into "planks" first:

then take a few planks at a time and slice into sticks:

then you can slice crosswise and you will have cubes of squash:

for the bulb, you can cut into slices first, then cut crosswise into chunks.

prep the other vegetables in the recipe: chop the onion, slice the celery, chop the carrot, peel and chop the apple.

start off sauteing the onions, adding some herbs if you choose (i used sage and thyme). if you want a smooth looking soup, keep the herbs in whole sprigs so you can remove them easily before blending. add the carrot and the celery and cook until they start to soften. then, add in the cubed squash and the broth to the pan.

simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the squash and vegetables soften. remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. next, its time to blend. you can use an immersion blender right in the pot, or you can use a regular blender. ladle about half of the squash mixture into the blender, making sure the leave plenty of space at the top.

now this is important! be sure to hold the stopper on the lid of your blender ajar (pictured below), so that the steam can escape while blending. also firmly hold the lid on. this is why you want to leave plenty of space, to prevent splashing squash all over your walls. pulse the mixture until most of the chunks are broken up, then process for about 15 seconds straight until it becomes a smooth puree. set aside the first batch and repeat with the second half.

 the puree will be quite silky, and you can mix the two batches together after blending.

you can serve immediately as warm soup, or stash it in the fridge for a couple of days. it reheats well. if desired, garnish with some herbs or spices for a nice presentation. i added some fresh grated nutmeg and sage:

perfect meal for a cold or rainy day!

butternut squash and apple soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup carrot, chopped
sage, thyme, or other herbs
5-6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 large apple, peeled and cubed (a tart, crisp apple such as granny smith works well)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water


1.   add the 2 tbsp olive oil to a soup pot (or a large skillet, with high sides) and heat over medium low heat. saute the onions until they start to soften, and add the sliced celery and chopped carrot. if desired, add a few sprigs of herbs to the pan as well.

2.   once the carrot and celery start to soften, add to the pan the cubed butternut squash, the apple, the broth, and the water. simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until squash softens.

3.   once squash and vegetables are soft, either use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture, or use a blender to puree the soup in batches, being careful to let the steam escape while blending (see tips above). if you are using a regular blender, i recommend letting the soup cool slightly before blending.

4.   serve pureed soup immediately while hot into bowls, or store in the fridge for a few days. you can easily reheat it on the stove over low heat or in the microwave.


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