created at: 2013-10-25
Until the last few years, I was never big on soups. They always seemed like a sorry, one-note excuse for a meal—especially the pureed ones. I wanted a more diverse texture instead of spoonful after spoonful of the same thing.

I’m not sure what happened between then and now, but I’m officially a soup convert. I still need a handful of soup crackers in my vegetable soup, or a grilled cheese sandwich to dip in my tomato soup, but I’ve come to appreciate a bowl of hot soup on a cold fall day.

And in October, nothing is more appropriate than a soup made with two of the season’s most popular produce: apples and squash. It’s a natural pairing, with the squash providing the soup with its silkiness and flavor backbone, and the apple lending a boost of sweetness.

This recipe includes instructions for pureeing the soup in a blender, which gives you the ultimate smoothness. I often puree soups with an immersion blender, which is more convenient and easier to clean than a blender is, but will give you a smooth, yet not quite as silky result. If using an immersion blender, make sure the blade is fully submerged the entire time you’re pureeing, lest you end up with squash soup on your kitchen ceiling. And if using a blender, don’t fill it more than halfway. You’re much less likely to have any blender disasters if there’s an equal amount of air and soup in the blender.

I like to add some texture to this soup by garnishing with tiny, brunoised apple cubes (they’re also a great way to practice your knife skills!), but you could also use croutons, soup crackers or pumpkin seeds. If you’re not a smooth soup fan, you will be after this.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ pound McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup water
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice
Salt and pepper
Sour cream, for garnish

1. In a medium pot over low heat, cook butter, olive oil, onions, curry powder and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Add squash, apples, water, broth and apple juice. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Cook until squash and apples are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3. Working in batches and filling the blender no more than half full, process the soup until smooth. Return the pureed soup to a clean pot, and bring it to a simmer. If needed, thin it with additional water to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with sour cream and brunoised apple pieces, if desired, and serve.