October 29, 2014

Fall Flavor: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Today was a beautiful, cool, crisp, breezy fall day. What better way to celebrate than to open all the windows, fire up the stove, and make some delicious soup for the even cooler evening ahead?!?

One of my favorite fall foods is butternut squash, whether it is roasted, mashed, in salads, pureed in soup; it is versatile, healthy and delicious. This afternoon, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onion and apple came together to create a creamy, satisfying soup- perfect for a cool evening.

Most of the cooking is hands-off, so don't be afraid of the almost 2 hour cook time. It is well worth it!! I have made other butternut squash soups that begin with cubed and boiled squash, but roasting the squash, and caramelizing the onion really add depth to the flavor of this soup.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6-8

4 pounds whole butternut squash, (about 2 medium)
5 tbsp unsalted butter- divided
1 Granny Smith apple
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 tsp ground sage, plus a sprinkle
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
dollop of sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash the outsides of the squash and dry, then cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 2 1/2 tbsp butter and brush the squash with the butter. Season squash with salt and pepper. Place on middle rack of the oven, and roast until the squash is tender- about one hour.
While the squash is roasting, thinly slice the onion. In small pan, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat; add sliced onion. Season with salt, pepper and sprinkle of ground sage. Saute for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, turning down heat if needed to keep onion from burning. The onions are done when they are a beautiful medium brown, (see photos). Set aside.

Onion, just placed in pan...
Onion, after about 15 minutes... 
Onion, after 40 minutes... nice and caramelized!
When the squash is tender, remove from oven and place baking sheet on cooling rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Peel, core and dice the apple. 
Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, 1/2 tsp ground sage and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the apple has softened. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh of the squash into the pot with the apples. (This gets messy!! The skin is very fragile- it may be easier to pick it up and use your fingers to separate the flesh from the skin.)
Add the caramelized onion, broth, water, and salt and pepper to the pot with the apple and squash mixture. Using spatula, break up any large pieces of squash and stir occasionally. Allow soup to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Using a blender, carefully puree the soup in batches until smooth. Once pureed, return soup to Dutch oven. Stir in heavy cream and serve!

I paired the soup with an "adult" grilled cheese: Swiss cheese and thinly sliced pear on rye bread. So delicious!

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