Don't expect sweet and cinnamon-y from this savory, winter soup.

Serves 4 to 5

Note: You can roast the squash in advance. If you do, let it cool and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days; let it come to room temperature (or warm it in the microwave) before making the soup.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium (about 4 pounds) butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crumbled dried (or rubbed) sage
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups water
Up to 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, as needed
Up to 1 tablespoon brown sugar (light or dark) as needed

Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400* F. Line a baking tray with foil and drizzle it with the olive oil.

Use a sharp heavy knife to cut the squash in half lengthwise. (Do this very carefully. Safest technique: insert the point of the knife first, and use a gentle sawing motion to initiate the cutting.) Use scissor to cut loose the strands of pulp around the seeds, and then scrape the seeds away with a spoon. Discard the seeds or reserve them to toast. Use a sturdy vegetable peeler to peel the squash halves. Then cut the flesh into 1-inch pieces, once again being careful with your knife because the squash can be both very hard and very slippery. (The shape and uniformity of the chunks do not matter, since it will all get pureed.)

Arrange the squash chunks in a single layer on the prepared tray, and roast in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pieces are fork tender and turning golden around the edges. (Shake the tray a few times during the roasting to keep the pieces from sticking.) Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash is roasting, melt the butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When the butter foams, swirl to coat the pan and then add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften.

Add the apple slices, along with the sage and thyme, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are very tender.

Add the roasted squash and the water to the onion-apple mixture. Turn up the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat all the way down to the lowest possible setting. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

This recipe is excerpted from Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen (HarperStudio, 2009).

Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


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