It’s been months. I’m sorry. I have two excuses, at least covering the past couple months: grad school, with associated internship, and moving. But really, I have no excuse, and I miss you. I owe you, in no particular order, posts on: peach pie, beet cake, corn and tomato pie, chicken soup, and why I should never, ever be allowed to make deep fried food (aka “I made chile relleno” aka “now I am scarred”), not to mention a review of Ruby Sparks and the long-delayed posts on Cold Weather and, oh god, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and also there’s a fried chicken round-up. I … I’m working on it. I really do miss you, though.
So now that I’ve prostrated myself before the throne of your displeasure, let’s talk butternut squash soup.
I first got into butternut squash soup in the summer, weirdly enough. It was 2007 and I was working in a Jersey suburb at a benignly soul-sucking office job that I escaped from every day at lunch to drive around and eat outdoors. At a nearby deli, which tended to have my back in terms of “food worth spending money on,” I found butternut squash soup. I could park on a wooded street (fun fact: many Jersey suburbs are basically in mountains) and eat something that tasted like fall and know this mind-deadening job would be over soon. Believe it or not, that has attached some pretty fond memories to the soup in question.
I tried to make it once in college, but I didn’t love the result. The recipe I used was too savory, containing leeks and garlic, and not autumnal enough. I always meant to revisit and tweak it, but … college. A couple weeks ago, though, inspired by a butternut squash I picked up at the farmer’s market, I dug up a recipe for inspiration, asked a bunch of my internet friends for their opinions, and created the following soup. You should make it. It is awesome.
– 1 butternut squash
– 3 – 4 apples (you’re shooting for slightly more apples than squash)
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– 1 – 2 onions, chopped
– Chicken broth
– Apple cider
– Fresh thyme
Cut your squash in half and removes its innards. Pretend you are an English executioner and the squash is a traitor. Put it on a pan face up, drizzle some olive oil over the top and roast it at 350 until it’s fork-tender. (Like a traitor.) Peel it. (Like a traitor.) Set it aside. (Like its head on the Tower of London fence.) You can totally start the rest of the soup while the traitor is roasting.
Dice your onions and get sauteein’. You’re going to be sauteeing in coconut oil, which in my experience making this soup is the opposite of “a little bit goes a long way.” I started with a tablespoon or two for one smallish onion, but found that the oil quickly got taken up by the onion, which then began browning faster than I wanted due to insufficient oil in the pot. I recommend you start with 2 – 3 tablespoons, depending on how much onion you have, and feel free to add more as you need it. (Regarding onion quantities, I used one small onion for one small squash. I now possess a squash equal to three small sqaushes, and will probably use 1.5 large onions with it. So … 1 small squash = 1 small onion. Aren’t you glad I’m around to explain this to you?)
While your onions are sauteeing, peel, core, and chop your apples. (You can chop them as roughly as you want since everything’s gonna get blended anyway.) I think I used three small apples with my one small squash, and now I have gigantic apples and a gigantic squash, so I’ll probably use 2 – 3 (which is equal to, like, six of the last apples I used). What you want, again, is slightly more apples than squash. Once they’re peeled and chopped you can go ahead and throw them into the pot. Add your peeled and chopped squash too. Cover the whole mess with chicken broth and maybe 1/4 cup apple cider, add the leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and some kosher salt and black pepper, and let it boil until the apples are fork-tender.
Then you can blend. If you have an immersion blender, use that, but since I don’t I just ladled it into the food processor. (I want an immersion blender, because this process is messy and annoying and dirties a second pot for no good reason.) Once it’s all blended put it back over medium heat, add maybe 1/4 – 1/2 cup cream and cook it for another minute or two. Then eat it.
What does it taste like, you ask? Well … squash. But also apples, and because of the cider (not hard cider) there’s a little bit of a tang. And the flavor of the coconut oil absolutely shines through, which might be the most fun part. So if any of that sounds appealing to you, you should make this.