Friday, November 14, 2008
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Crispy Sage and Parmesan Grilled Bread
Butternut squash is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with in the Fall. There's just something comforting about roasting its orange flesh until it becomes soft and sweet - and the wonderful color gets me every time. Apple and squash must have been high school sweethearts of sorts as their flavors meld wonderfully but also manage to stand up to one another. The great thing about these kinds of soups is that they fill your kitchen (and whole living space when your apartment is not very spacious!) with a wonderful earthy smell - and while they take a little while to simmer, the end result is grand amounts of luscious soup that can be frozen to enjoy at a later time if desired.
So, grab your favorite fleece blanket, some crusty bread and a bowl of steaming soup and just enjoy being inside and warm on a cold day.
Recipe (for 6)
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size cubes
3 apples, peeled and cored into bite-size cubes
1/2 white onion
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of light brown sugar
2 celery stalks
6 sage leaves, and one extra per soup bowl
3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 shallots, diced
1 1/2 qt of chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One loaf of sourdough bread
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425 F. Place the butternut squash and apple cubes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, the apple cider vinegar and season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to mix the seasoning in. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the cubes are soft. Check on the apples after 20 minutes as they should be be ready before the butternut squash.
In the meantime, dice the onion, celery and carrots into similar size bite-size chunks. In a pot, heat a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the vegetables and stir. Cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the chopped garlic and shallots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cooked apples and butternut squash. Add the 6 sage leaves (minced) and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Blend (preferably with an immersion blender) until the soup is smooth. If the soup seems a little too chunky, add some water, one tablespoon at a time into you reach your desired texture. Keep warm on low heat.
Heat a good drizzle of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) in a pan on high heat. Add the extra sage leaves. Turn them after 1 minute and fry on the other side for another minute. In the meantime, cut some sourdough bread into slices. Drizzle with olive oil and grated Parmesan. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side.
Serve the warm soup with a drizzle of olive oil, some cracked black pepper, a fried sage leaf and a couple pieces of bread. Enjoy!