Whenever you start to see butternut squash at the market in abundance selling for 50 cents a pound, you know it really is fall. I started making butternut squash soup when Jon and I first moved into the East Village 2 years ago and we had a real kitchen table where we could sit and eat dinner like normal people, instead of on the couch in front of the tv. We started having Sunday dinners and I would make the soup with a whole roast chicken and roasted root vegetables. The thing that made the meal special was the apples and leeks I would sneak in with the carrots and potatoes.
I wanted to make a bite that would encapsulate those early Sunday dinners we had when we first moved here two falls ago. Putting the apples and leeks into the soup made it sweeter, more savory and so luscious. The apple cider gives it a little tanginess, and you’d never know this soup wasn’t full of cream or butter because it is still so thick and creamy. The squash, apple and leek combination is an amazing bite of fall flavors.
(Makes 2 quarts of soup and a lot of appetizer portions)
1 whole butternut squash, halved and roasted
4 Macoun apples, thinly sliced
3 leeks, whites and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 small white onion, diced
½ quart chicken stock
½ quart apple cider
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Macoun apple (for garnish), thinly sliced
- Halve the butternut squash and rub with olive oil and salt. Roast the squash face down at 425° until soft, about 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, slice the leeks and dice the onion. Sweat on a medium heat in butter until translucent, but do not allow them to brown. Add in the apples and cook until soft.
- When squash is ready, scoop out the flesh with a spoon or fork. Make sure not let any of the peel to get into the soup.
- Add squash into the soup and cook for a minute. Add cider and stock and cook on medium-low heat until soft. Season to taste.
- Blend soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to heat and adjust seasoning. Add cider if needed to adjust the thickness of the soup (or cook down if it is too thin).
- For the apple chips, thinly slice a Macoun apple on a mandoline. Place slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 200° until crisped and dried. Serve as a garnish on soup.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle