Sunday, March 28, 2010
Soup Night: Butternut Squash & Apple
I am so excited that spring is finally here! I knew the weather was was turning warmer at last, so last weekend I had one final binge of yummy wintery foods. I heard about the Barefoot Contessa's Butternut Squash Apple Soup and thought it would be a perfect cozy meal.
I really liked the soup overall. It has a unusual kick from the curry powder (which is not just one spice, but typically a combination of: coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek and red pepper among others) that balances nicely with the sweetness of the apple.
Since the soup requires several apples peeled and diced I opted for pre-cut Butternut Squash from Trader Joe's so I wouldn't be chopping and peeling all weekend. Other than the dicing and slicing the soup didn't take too long. Instead of adding all that sugar from the apple juice I opted to do half juice and half chicken stock. If I was to make the soup again though, I think I might omit the apple juice all together as I didn't find it really added a depth of flavor. I was munching the soup prior to adding the juice/stock (for seasoning purposes, of course ;-) and felt it was plenty delicious if not more so prior to the addition. After about 40 mins the squash and apples have cooked down and then the soup must be puréed.
One seemingly frivolous kitchen appliance that is actually my Kitchen MVP is the Immersion Blender. Yes, and it doesn't hurt that it's also available in my favorite color yellow! Soups are easy to make and healthy but that annoying last step of dumping the contents into a conventional blender in batches is a pain. My blender is also super crappy and plastic so I prefer to wait for the cooked soup to cool down, which adds on to overall cooking time. Lame. That's where the immersion blender comes in. It's fabulous and also works for smoothies, salad dressings everything. Love it.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Yield: 3 1/2 quarts
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
* 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
* 5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
* 1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups water
* 2 cups good apple cider or juice
* Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
* Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.
* Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup with a food processor or immersion blender.
* Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.