This series will highlight one ingredient or flavor in three separate posts featuring different ways to cook them. Some recipes will be traditional. Some will be a little outside of the box. And then there will be some featuring my favorite ways to eat!
My hope for this series is for you to find new ways to shine in your kitchen. We all get stuck in a rut sometimes, so let’s brainstorm and come up with new ideas and share them with our community of home cooks. Are you up for the challenge?
This week’s featured ingredient is…BUTTERNUT SQUASH!
Why? You may wonder…well it’s in season. This particular squash is so versatile. And as you will witness this week, this particular squash can be savory and sweet.
Today we are going to start with my favorite way to eat Butternut squash…or in this case sip. We are making Butternut Squash soup with apples and homemade, herby, cheesy croutons!
Butternut Squash soup, for me, is that quintessential fall flavor. It’s delicately sweet with notes of savory depending on how you like to season it. Today’s soup is made even sweeter with apples and balanced with the saltiness of the homemade croutons. Let’s begin!
First we are going to create the base of the soup’s flavor by sweating some onions in a large dutch oven over medium heat until the onions are very tender. Then we’ll add diced butternut squash, diced apples and some chicken stock to the mix.
When it comes to chicken stock, I would typically buy it from the grocery store; however, this time around I decided to go wild and make my own stock from a simple recipe thanks to smitten kitchen. After experiencing how simple and delicious it was I don’t think I can go back to store bought. Home made stock and store bought stock have a different consistency and while both finished products will taste fine, I found I enjoyed the consistency of the home made stock way more.
Regardless, “you do you”…choose your own adventure. If you want to stay with what you know right now that is totally fine. Now where were we…OH YEA! Cook the squash, apples and stock covered in the dutch oven until very soft.
Meanwhile, let’s make the croutons. Cube some crusty artisanal bread and lay out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sage and salt then toss to coat evenly. Then go ahead and bake in the oven until lightly golden and crisp. Shred some parmesan on top of the hot croutons. Toss to coat evenly then set aside for later….BOOM! Croutons!
When the squash and apples are tender, it’s time to puree them using an immersion blender. If you’re like me, and you broke your immersion blender from too many soup purees….or just don’t have one at all. Never fear, just use a blender or food processor and puree in batches.
The point is we want our soup to be smooth and creamy. Do whatever you got to do to make that happen!
Return the puree back to the pot as well as another cup or two of your chicken stock to reach your desired consistency. Finish the soup by seasoning with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
Pour into bowls garnish with croutons and enjoy sipping (or slurping) your new favorite taste of fall!
The Butternut Squash is velvety smooth and the sweetness is heightened by the apples. Plus the croutons you readily made make the soup feel special and comforting! SWOON!
A recipe like this is a great reminder of the deliciousness of simplicity. No fancy bells and whistles here…just seasonally, good food!
Tune in next time for a more challenging take on BUTTERNUT SQUASH…the Ravioli!
I already can’t wait! See you Wednesday!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium, yellow onions, chopped
- About 5lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced into chunks
- 3 large apples (I used Fuji, but a mix of sweet and tart apples whatever floats your boat), peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 4 Cups chicken stock (homemade or store bought), divided
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 cups 1- inch cut bread cubes from a crusty loaf of bread (ie- sourdough bread, Italian loaf or whole grain artisanal bread)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a heavy bottomed stock pot of dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions and cook until very tender. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Add the Squash and apples to the pot, then stir in 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook until the squash and apples are very soft- about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the croutons by placing the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the sage and salt, then toss to coat evenly. Make sure the bread cubes are in one even layer then bake in the oven until lightly crisp and brown about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, toss to distribute evenly then set aside until ready to serve.
- When the squash and apples are tender, puree the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or in batches using a blender or food processor. Return the puree to the pot, add a cup of the remaining chicken stock then stir adding the final cup of stock until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt, nutmeg, black pepper and cayenne.
- Serve hot, garnished with the sage croutons. Enjoy!