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Food & Entertaining

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Author: Sydney Dye
Issue: October, 2013, Page 50



Soup’s On! - It’s a true sign of fall when pumpkins, gourds and butternut squash suddenly appear in markets. While many are familiar with the pumpkin’s culinary charms and possibilities—warm pumpkin bread, roasted pumpkin seeds, savory pumpkin soup—the butternut squash hasn’t quite achieved the same widespread appeal. All the same, those who know her, tend to love her.

A highly versatile fruit, the butternut’s succulent and somewhat nutty-tasting orange flesh can be grilled, baked, roasted, steamed and even simmered. When grilled, it is typically seasoned with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, which play well with the butternut’s natural sweetness.

In addition to being tasty, butternut squash is rich in dietary vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and E, manganese, magnesium and potassium. And, lest you be one of the intrepid who fear its somewhat fibrous texture, when mashed and added to dough and batter, this winter squash bakes up beautifully, ensuring moist breads and cookies.

In this month’s recipe, we pair butternut squash with tart organic apples for a rich, velvety soup that’s sure to please the whole family.


Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into medium dice
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and cut into medium dice
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric, cumin and cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each of cardamom and cayenne
Dash of ground cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken stock mixed with 2 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
Toasted pepitas for garnish

Photo by Garrett Cook
 
HEAT olive oil and butter in a 4-6 quart stockpot over medium heat.
ADD onion, garlic and squash; cook until tender (6-8 minutes).
STIR in carrots, celery and apple; mix well.
BLEND in ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne and cloves.
SEASON with salt and pepper to taste.
COVER and cook until all vegetables are tender (5 minutes).
POUR stock mixture over vegetables and bring to a low boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
REMOVE from heat and allow to cool (10 minutes).
PUREE mixture in batches until smooth.
TRANSFER pureed portions to a clean heavy-bottomed pan.
ADD cream and adjust seasoning to taste.  
GARNISH with toasted pepitas.

Cutting Squash
There is an art to cutting dense, irregularly shaped produce such as butternut squash. Begin by slicing a small disk off of the squash’s round side. Next, lay the squash lengthwise, using the flat area as the contact surface for the cutting board; this will help to prevent the squash from rolling. Then, using a large and sharp chef's knife (be careful!), cut the squash into horizontal thirds. Standing each piece on end, remove the outer skin, or peel, by cutting from top to bottom. Once peeled, cut each third in half lengthwise and scoop out any seeds and stringy flesh. Finally, cut the pieces into uniform cubes for faster and even cooking.


Sydney Dye is a home gardener, chef and owner of First Fig Culinary Adventures in Scottsdale.


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