It’s been freezing in DC lately. And after spending three sunny and warm days in Las Vegas, the switch to 30 degree weather and a nagging cold required drastic measures – butternut squash soup. This was a first for me, but I’m glad to say it turned out quite well. I didn’t rely on any one recipe, but instead took my queues from a few different versions that I found online. Here’s what I came up with.
Butternut Squash Soup with Diced Apples4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved, cored, and cubed
4 slices bacon, diced 3 leeks, ends removed, halved and sliced 1/2 medium onion, sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 3 tablespoons butter Salt and Pepper 1 tablespoon dried thyme 5 cups chicken stock 1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 dash powdered clove 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 McIntosh apple, finely diced into 1/4 inch squares 1 Dash cinnamon 1 Dash nutmeg 1 Dash sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread out on a greased sheet pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a large pot or dutch over, add bacon and cook until browned and reserve. Add sliced onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper, and thyme and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaf, bring to a simmer. Add the baked butternut squash, bacon, nutmeg, and clove, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor in batches and puree until smooth. Add the mixture back into the pot and bring the heat to low. Stir in the cream and 1 tablespoon butter and cook for about 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add water in 1/2 cup increments (and probably no more than 1 1/2 cups) until you get the desired thickness.
For the apples, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add diced apples, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon and cook until browned. Serve over the soup with a crispy slice of buttered baguette.
The recipe takes about 1 1/2 hours and serves 6.