Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s Splendid Table
Goodness, this soup is amazing. I fix it and usually we have no leftovers. I’m generally not a fan of squash soups, but there’s something about this one…it’s perfectly seasoned, just creamy enough (with no cream!), and deliciously comforting. This is where the immersion blender that can sometimes get thrown in the back of the cabinet from lack of use becomes the perfect tool, but you can use a regular blender too. Or if you find yourself without these tools, you could probably just use a potato masher and tell everyone it’s a “rustic” soup. This is why I love cooking–because it’s easy to transform seeming disasters into beautiful and well received food.
You can use any winter squash you want! I generally use a mixture of acorn and butternut. Serve with some crusty bread and you’ve got yourself the ultimate comfort dinner for a blustery fall or winter day.
Serves 4 to 6 (Although Katherine, Christy and I can down all of this in one sitting…)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
Bouquet garni (3 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme, 10 whole black peppercorns, tied together in cheesecloth)
3 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 cups chicken stock or low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 sprig thyme
In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the shallot and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the bouquet garni, squash, and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, decrease the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, to cook the apples, in a skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the diced apple and remaining sprig of thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is tender and lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
To finish the soup, remove the bouquet garni and discard. In the Dutch oven, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Or ladle the soup into a blender and puree until smooth a little at a time. Leave it coarse and chunky if you prefer a more rustic soup or puree until smooth for a more elegant soup. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle into warm bowls and garnish with the sautéed apples.