Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday Soup: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream

I'm a day late, I know, but I was very busy yesterday being lazy. This week for me at work is insane and is usually the busiest for each holiday peak we have. So I tossed away my "to do" list and cocooned myself in my tiny house, trying to brace myself for the marathon week this will be.

And what better way to fortify yourself than with soup. There are so many things I really like about this soup. First, it is fast to make and tasty to eat. I'm assuming there is some healthiness going on as well. One way it is fast is to use pre-cut items like this butternut squash. Couldn't be handier, and is good to have leftovers for a quick and healthy side dish. I also took advantage of Trader Joe's prepackaged leeks. I appreciate buying just the part that I want to use. It doesn't seem as wasteful as buying a whole leek only to throw half of it away.

The other thing I'm loving about this soup and the last one is the use of an immersion blender. These little babies are among my top 5 tools in the kitchen. They are fun to use, easy to clean up. And I simply love blended soups.

I cut the recipe in half and each serving was very generous. You won't go hungry with this. And another plus - this recipe wasn't very expensive. I used many of the ingredients from the last soup, plus others I already had on hand.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream
from the book Sunday Soup: A Year's Worth of Mouthwatering, Easy-to-Make Recipes
by Betty Rosbottom
Serves 6

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash (from 2- to 2 1/2- pound squash; cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 medium leeks)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, plus an extra apple for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
Kosher salt
2/3 cup sour cream
5 bacon slices,sauteed until crisp, drained and crumbled

Melt the butter in a large, heavy pan set over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash, leeks, carrots, and celery and saute', stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Add apples, thyme, and sage. Add stock and 1 cup of the cider. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until vegetables and apples are tender, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the cider cream. Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in a small, heavy saucepan until it reduces to 1/4 cup, for about 5 minutes. Cool, then place sour cream in a small bowl and whisk in reduced cider. (Cider cream can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate until needed.)

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

For the garnish, halve and core the reserved apple, then cut one half into 12 paper-thin slices. (Eat or save remaining half for another use.)

To serve, ladle soup into 6 shallow bowls and drizzle with cider cream. Garnish each serving with crumbled bacon and a couple of apple slices.


Pamela said...

I love butternut squash soup. I haven't made any yet this year, and this post is a reminder to get my butt moving. Looks wonderful.

Leslie said...

This looks wonderful and perfect for chilly days! I have a butternut squash in the pantry...hmm...

Sara said...

This sounds so good. I love butternut squash but the boyfriend hates it so I rarely get to make stuff like this.

Also - don't forget to send me your pick for Craving Ellie when you have a chance. I am not trying to harass, just don't want you to miss out on your pick :)