Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup- So Easy! So Good!

This awesome soup is so easy to make- it practically makes itself :-).  I love butternut squash and, combined with apples and maple syrup, it becomes a rich, creamy soup to be perfectly garnished with more roasted apples or homemade croutons.

Two toppings: caramelized apples (left) and croutons (right)

The measurements for the ingredients are approximate.  Please, taste and adjust as you go.

To serve four to six generously.
2     tbsp oil (olive or grapeseed)
3     butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks (approx. 4 cups)
3     apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1     med. onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1     tsp thyme
2     garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3     tbsp maple syrup
1     litre chicken broth or stock, divided
500 ml half and half (or cream, if you want)
Salt and pepper to taste

Ready to go into the oven
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place squash, apples, onions, garlic and thyme on a baking sheet.  Coat with oil and maple syrup and mix to ensure everything is lightly coated.  Place in the oven to roast for approximately 45 minutes, until the vegetables begin to colour.  Stir once, about half way through the cooking time. Remove from the oven and place in a large saucepan.  Cover the vegetables with the chicken stock- you'll probably need about 500 ml.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for approximately one hour.  Remove from the heat and let the soup cool.

Working in batches, place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth.  Alternatively, you may use an immersion blender.  Replace in the cleaned pot.  Add the half and half.  Check the consistency of your soup. If it is thicker than you would like, add more chicken broth.  If you'd like it creamier, add more milk.  Check the seasonings- add salt and pepper to taste; maybe more maple syrup or thyme.  If you'd prefer a more "apple" taste, add a little apple juice.
It's done...

To serve, place into individual bowls.  You can garnish the soup with croutons or thin slices of caramelized apples (Core, peel and slice an apple thinly.  Place in a frying pan, in heated butter, with about one tablespoon of brown sugar.  Cook until lightly browned.  You could also add a dash of cream or milk and cook until the mixture thickens a little)

In addition to the suggestions above, you could use pears instead of apples.  To make this soup vegetarian, you could use water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Caramelizing fresh and dried apples for the garnish


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