Monday, September 19, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Autumn Spices

I first published this recipe on Blogcritics as Roasted Butternut Squash with Autumn Spices.

For me, fresh butternut squash and apples at the Farmers Market signal the arrival of fall.  The days are getting slightly shorter, the evenings getting cooler, and I’m ready for some soup.  Specifically, roasted butternut squash and apple soup with an array of spices; its like Autumn in a bowl.  It’s such warm, yummy comfort food and very healthy and easy to pull off too! Honestly, the hardest part of this preparation is peeling, de-seeding, and cubing the squash.  Many markets now offer this already prepped and cut into small pieces, so feel free to take advantage of that and cut your prep time in half!  I like to roast the vegetables first to deepen their flavor and get a little caramelization going.  Trust me, it’s wroth the extra step!  I’ve used low salt chicken broth in this version, but you can absolutely sub in vegetable broth for non-meat eaters!  This soup is a wonderful first course for a special event, a great lunchtime treat, or a filling casual supper when paired with a salad of mixed greens, sliced Asian pears, walnuts and goat cheese.  Enjoy!  

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed into 1” cubes
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into one inch pieces
1 gala apple, peeled, cored and cut into a large dice
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp Olive oil
Fresh Thyme sprigs
Cooking spray
1 Tbsp Curry powder
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp butter
32 oz. reduced sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
Salt & pepper to taste
Plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.  Toss the cut up squash and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper and some of the fresh thyme leaves removed from the stems.  Place on foil in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and add in the apples and onions.  Spray the top with cooking spray and sprinkle all the spices over the top.  Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove roasted vegetables from the oven and set aside.  In a large stockpot, melt (but do not brown) butter over medium high heat and add in some additional fresh thyme leaves.  Pick up the foil from the baking sheet and use it to get all the roasted vegetables and pan juices into the buttered stockpot.  Saute for a few minutes and add 2 cups of the broth and 1 cup of the cider.  Bring to a light boil, cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, covered for 10 minutes or so.  Add in the cider vinegar.  Next you’ll puree the soup.  A standing, or immersion blender, is the easiest way to do this.  If you don’t have one, it’s easily worth the $20 investment.  If not, process the soup in batches in a standing blender.  Be careful not to add too much soup at once as the heat will cause it to expand while blending.  You’ll now want to thin the soup to your desired consistency using the additional broth.  Now, taste the soup and season as desired with additional spices, salt and pepper.  Just before serving, stir about 1 Tbsp of plain yogurt into each bowl and enjoy!

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