Tuesday, November 30, 2010
From the very first time I tried this recipe from my friend Heather, I was in love. I loved the autumn inspired flavors with the squash and the apple and I loved the extra crunch and bite that the pumpernickel croutons added. Too bad a couple of my kids aren't such big fans of it, because I like it enough that I keep making it anyway. I highly recommend finding the pre-cut butternut squash (pictured below), because peeling and cutting a whole squash was a pain in the patootie!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP:
5 Tbs. butter
2-1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup whipping cream
chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup apple cider
2/3 cup sour cream
PUMPERNICKEL CROUTONS WITH MAPLE AND CHIVE:
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. chives
FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: Melt butter in heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot, and celery; saute until slightly softened, about 15 minutes.
Mix in chopped apples, thyme, and sage. Add broth and 1 cup cider and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender.
(NOTE: I pureed 2/3 of the soup and mashed the remaining 1/3 with the potato masher. It gave the soup a little more texture.)
Return soup to pan.
Bring soup to simmer. Mix in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls.
Drizzle with cider cream.
Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!
FOR CIDER CREAM: In a small, heavy saucepan, boil 1/2 cup cider until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
FOR PUMPERNICKEL CROUTONS: Preheat oven to 375°. Preheat baking sheets in oven. Toss bread in large bowl with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Spread croutons in a single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with chives.
Stir croutons lightly once every 2 minutes or so, until croutons are crispy on the outside, but still slightly chewy on the inside; about 5-8 minutes. Enjoy!