What a glorious fall we have been having! Winter will be here before we know it, and I’ve been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather as long as I can. Last weekend, my family took my dog for a 7 mile hike at one of our favorite parks- Lebanon Hills. We returned just as the sun disappeared, with cold noses and fingers, ready for a warm meal. Nothing warms you up like a delicious bowl of soup, and nothing is so quintessentially fall as squash. This butternut squash soup is perfect for fall and its bright colors and flavors are sure to be a hit.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tart apples (I used Haralsons)
- 1 large onion
- 1 tablespoon herbes de provence
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 1/3 cup milk
- Before you can begin your delicious soup, you must roast your squash. If you have limited cooking time like me, you can roast your squash before hand to save time. Brilliant. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil or a silicon baking mat.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Try not to cut your hand off. But seriously- butternut squash is hard to cut. This is a great tutorial for cutting butternut squash (for this recipe, leave the skin on and only cut in half). Use a sharp knife and exercise lots of patience. Scoop out seeds and pulp (you can roast butternut squash seeds just like pumpkin seeds).
- Set the squash halves cut-side up on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil (about a tablespoon, maybe less). Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast squash in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- While squash roasts, prepare apples and onions. Peel, core and chop apples into bite size pieces. I rarely peel apples, but in this case, leaving the skin will result in a funky soup texture. Save the peels and use them in a smoothie! Mince onion.
- Sauté apples and onions in a large pot with olive oil.
- Stir in herbes de provence and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and apples are soft (about 10 minutes).
- Use a spoon to scoop out cooked flesh of the squash and add to pot. Discard skins. You can also slice cooked squash, but scooping is more fun.
- Add broth and water, and bring soup to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Break up large pieces of squash with a spoon as needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in milk. (The original recipe calls for cream, but I opted to make a healthier version with milk. My version was still creamy and delicious!)
- Blend soup with an immersion blender, or in batches with a regular blender.
- Reheat in pot if necessary. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds or fresh sage leaves as desired. Enjoy!
How did I make the spiderweb design? Magic. And a little sour cream.
Sour cream in squash soup? I know it sounds a little strange, but it added a nice creaminess to the soup. You can also use cream, but the only time I buy cream is to make French desserts. Speaking of French cuisine, I borrowed this technique from French pastry. It’s an easy method that creates an elegant result- which in my opinion, describes most of French cuisine. Humble origins, magnificent results.
To create a spiderweb pattern, spoon a small amount of sour cream into a plastic bag. Snip the corner of the plastic bag to create a makeshift piping bag. Pipe a spiral of sour cream onto the top of your soup. The soup is thick enough that the sour cream will sit nicely on the surface. Insert a toothpick in the center of your spiral and draw outward to the edge of the spiral. Repeat to create a starburst radiating from the center of your bowl (I made 8 evenly spaced lines). Complete the pattern by drawing inward lines, pulling from the outer edge of the spiral into the center. Place an inward line between each outward line for a symmetrical spiderweb effect.
Show off your artwork to your family and friends. And of course enjoy your beautiful masterpiece.
Recipe adapted from The Food Charlatan