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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

If there's a staple recipe in the foodblog world, it's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  I feel like there's a gaping hole on Simple Awesome Cooking until I can check this box and with some variation that differentiates my own concoction.

Astute readers will notice that "roasted" is lacking in the recipe title.  That's because the butternut squash isn't actually roasted....it goes into the pot raw.  Read on to find out why....

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Background

Recently I was at lunch at a nearby restaurant and I ordered the Butternut Squash Soup as part of the prix fixe menu.  It's not a soup I'd normally choose in a restaurant since we make a lot of it at home, but the other option was something involving shellfish and octopus, I think.

And I was glad I did order it.  It was quite fantastic.  Velvety... Buttery... Intensely flavored... Slightly creamy.  I had to know the chef's secret.  What I found out is that the squash was roasted with butter and olive oil.  Then it was blended, pressed through a sieve to make it super smooth and small amounts of heavy cream were added to get the right consistency.

Very good stuff.

But that's not how I made this soup... I just wanted to share that story because I think you can get pretty close to that end product with much less effort.


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Preparing the Butternut Squash

As I mentioned earlier, there's no roasting of the squash ahead of time.  No microwaving.  No boiling.  So you saved some prep and cooking time right there.  (There's just a little more effort involved to cut up the squash.)

For a cooking vessel, you'll need a large stockpot.  The first time I did this, I used a regulation sized dutch oven and it just barely fit.

After giving the squash a good scrubbing, start by cutting off the round shaped part of the squash from the neck.  Then, stand each of those two pieces up on the flat end on your cutting board (safety first) and slice them in half.  With the bulbous part, scoop out all of the seeds.

Carefully use your knife to cut off the outer skin.  Then chop up the large pieces that remain into roughly 1/2" to 1" square pieces and set them aside.  You can actually do this while your onions are cooking as it takes about 10 minutes to do, the same time needed to sweat the onions and garlic.
Chopped pieces of butternut squash
After the onions have cooked, you'll basically add the rest of the ingredients and let it go.

Buttenut Squash cooking with onions and garlic
One variation here from most recipes is that you'll reduce down white wine with the squash before adding the stock.  This is something I picked up from Francis Mallman's cookbook on Argentine Cooking.  I'm a huge fan of his style and have other inspired recipes on the blog, such as the one for Roasted Carrot & Onion Soup.  This is a technique I also use when cooking risotto...

After the soup cooks you have a couple of options to finish it.  The simplest, and one involving the least mess, is to use an immersion blender.  However this does not always produce the smoothest results - especially if you're trying to win a soup contest.  A powerful blender is always going to give you a smoother soup.  Though it typically involves processing in batches and messing up a few more bowls.

Just before serving, the classic French technique is to monte-au-beurre, or mixing in a small amount of softened butter to dial up the richness.  I prefer to use a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead.  A little grated Parmesan and chopped thyme will also garnish (and match in flavors) well too.

On the side, I've served some rosemary and Parmesan toasts, just like in that Roasted Carrot soup.  Nothing fancy here.  Just slice off some baguette, brush with olive oil and toast them in the toaster oven.  Just before serving, give them a coating of Parmesan and chopped rosemary and stick them under the broiler for about 20-30 seconds to brown the cheese.

Click to Print

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Based on Francis Mallman's Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: About 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Butternut Squash (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 White Onions
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme (fresh)
  • 4 cups Stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
Instructions
  1. Sweat the onion and garlic (seasoned with salt and pepper) over medium heat in a large stock pot for about 10 minutes
  2. While this is cooking, carefully chop the squash into 1/2" square pieces
  3. Peel and core the apple. Roughly chop it up into 1/4" square pieces
  4. When the onions have turned translucent, add the squash and apples to the pot. Eat the leftover apple peels, toss out the core.
  5. Stir this all together and give it a few minutes to mix well with the heat. Add the wine to the pot and bring it to a low boil
  6. You'll want to reduce the wine down until it has almost evaporated, this will take about 15 minutes
  7. Add the stock, curry powder and the thyme leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let it simmer for about 30 minutes
  8. Finally, blend the soup, return it to the pot and check your seasoning