I can’t believe it’s already October, which according to NPR is peak decorative gourd month. Also, Halloween!!! Since we’re celebrating the gourds in all forms, decorative and delicious, we figured we’d kick off the month with a delicious and hearty soup recipe – our butternut squash soup with apples. It seriously tastes like autumn in a bowl. Plus, it’s a totally festive orange soup – perfect for this time of the year. If you’d rather, you can substitute the butternut squash with pumpkin to make a pumpkin soup. Still festive. Still delicious. Just look for a small sugar pumpkin, not the one you’d be using for a jack-o-lantern. More flavor. Now, unless you’re just on our blog looking for deals (in which case, click here) let’s get cooking – I’m gonna teach you how to make soup that’ll knock your festive fall socks off!
First up, gather your ingredients! As you’ll see, this is a vegetarian soup, but if you’d prefer, you can make it with chicken stock. I just know I’m always on the quest for great, hearty vegetarian dishes this time of the year, and this is a great one.
- 4 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (approximately 2 medium squash)
- 1 white onion, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 3 apples, diced (I prefer Fuji or Granny Smith)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil if you’d prefer)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 5-6 large leaves sage, minced, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you’d prefer.)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Green onion, for garnish, optional
- Sour cream, for garnish, optional
If you use those garnishes, it’s gonna look a little like this – I skipped the green onion but went crazy with the sage:
- In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. When it’s melted, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion begins to get transparent, then add the carrot, celery and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables just begin to get tender. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds more.
- Turn the heat to medium and add the butternut squash, apples, brown sugar and herbs. At this point, consider adding an additional small pinch of salt, especially if you like your food salty. I’m a bit of a salt fiend.
- Cook over medium for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add about 3/4 of the stock (chicken or veggie, your choice.) Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium low, and leave it alone until the vegetables and fruits are completely tender. There’s a good chance they’ll absorb a lot of the liquid as well.
- Time to puree the soup. I use an immersion blender, but you can also puree in a blender, in small batches. When it’s all blended and smooth, put the soup back in your soup pot and taste it. Does it need salt? Pepper? A tiny dash of hot sauce? Add it. Now’s also the time to take a look at the texture. If it’s too thick, add more of your stock, bit by bit. Keep tasting and adjusting the flavor. If the stock makes it too salty, add a bit of water, or even orange juice. If it’s too thin, let it cook a little longer. Some of the water will evaporate.
- At this point, it’s time to serve the soup. Get out your favorite soup bowls (we’re partial to acacia) and keep them handy. If you want a crispy sage garnish like we have above, simply fry your sage in a small pan with a bit of oil or butter. Set on a paper towel and it’ll crisp right up. If you’re using sour cream, a little dollop goes a long way. If using chives or green onions, simply mince them up. Put the soup in the bowl, garnish at will, and enjoy!
Some serving notes: If you’re wondering what to serve with butternut squash soup, I’d suggest going the *not to be named Italian restaurant* way and doing soup, salad and bread(sticks.) This is a hearty, super filling vegetarian soup (or not vegetarian, if you’d prefer) and it doesn’t need much. I love it with crusty, lightly buttered bread and a simple salad. It’s also delightful with grilled cheese – like tomato soup with grilled cheese, but with this unmistakably fall flavor. For dinner parties, this is great in tiny bowls, little jars, or even shot glasses as an appetizer. If you want to make a huge batch and make it last longer, here’s how to freeze soups like this butternut squash soup: Put it in freezer-safe containers (I use 1/2 liter jars – they’re the perfect lunchtime serving size) leaving about an inch of head space. Since this soup has a lot of water in it, it’ll expand. Freeze for up to 3 months (I’ll admit, I’ve gone as long as 6 to no ill-effects.) If you freeze in serving sized containers, rather than in one giant vat, it’ll be super-easy to only defrost just what you need when you need it…especially if you need a last minute lunch.
Cheers to fall, everyone! What’s your absolute favorite fall recipe? Are you a soup junky as well? Don’t forget to take pictures of anything you make from now until October 16 and hashtag it with #pmtcFallTable – you could win a $100 gift certificate to our site! You can also re-post the picture below to win! Details here.