TSJ’s Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

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Like a bunch of giddy children we piled into three rows of seats, and hit the road towards Silverman’s Farm. “Ooh there’s a hayride!” “Ahh, llamas, I love llamas!” “Mmm, I can’t wait to try the donuts!”

The six of us adults couldn’t have been more excited for our day of fall festivities. Meri, Steph and I have been close friends since our sorority days in college. We’ve had a lot of memorable times together, traveling to Aruba, meeting up for dinners, and most of all, sharing our love for autumn. And while the men didn’t let out squeals like us ladies did, it was clear they were just as overjoyed.

When we arrived, the group of us hopped onto the giant tractor and rode up a few hills towards the orchard. Rows of trees (many of them just my height!) lined the field overlooking a picturesque scene of red and orange foliage. Honey crisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Empire shiny fruit was right at our fingertips. Each couple filled a bag, then made our way back down to the pumpkin patch where we took photos among the gourds, purchased decorations for our homes, and dug into some freshly baked cider donuts washed down with refreshing cold cider.

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farm

Next, it was off to the animal farm, letting the ostrich, goats and deer eat right out of our hands, then petting pigs and a giant buffalo. We may have been the only adults there without children (aside from baby-to-be!), but it is possible that we had the most fun of all.

When we returned home with our bushel, I contemplated what to make. I’ve already prepared cinnamon baked apples, low-fat apple streusel muffins and dried cherry apple sauce. Recently, I baked a fresh peach and blackberry pie and peach crumble so I didn’t want to turn our pickings into either of those variations.

Then yesterday, I had an idea. I was spending some time with my 2-year-old buddy Maxton, and he was pretending to cook. When his mommy (my friend Lauren) asked what he was making he said, “Apple soup.” We realized this unique response is his answer every single time she inquires. Although he’s never actually tasted it, I have to say, the kid is onto something. Perhaps his ‘silly creativity’ is really just a culinary expert in the making, because this seasonal dish is right on point.

I’ve had it in the past with butternut squash, so I knew the two together would be a winning combination. Although this is definitely on the sweeter side, tangy apple cider and sautéed red onions add a savory feel while black pepper gives it a pop of heat to balance it out. I’ve added a touch of cream at the end to bring the components together and add an extra depth of flavor. However, you can certainly leave it off if you’d prefer a dairy-free option.

I can’t wait to see what Maxton thinks of my creation!

Ingredients:

4 apples

1  (10 oz.) package diced organic butternut squash (fresh or frozen)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cup red onion

1/4 cup apple cider

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

Dice onion.

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Drizzle olive oil into a pot.

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Toss in onions.

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Saute onions in oil for a few minutes, until tender.

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 In the meantime, wash apples.

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Peel them.

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Then core and dice them.

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Add apples to pot.

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And butternut squash. (I used frozen.)

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Mix together.

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Pour in vegetable stock.

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And apple cider.

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Toss in bay leaves.

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Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

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Cover and simmer for ten minutes, or until apples and squash is tender.

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Using a potato masher, break up whole pieces of tender fruit and veggie.

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I prefer mine to have a little texture, but if you’d rather have a smoother soup, use an immersion blender or food processor.

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Remove bay leaves.

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Finish with heavy cream.

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And cinnamon.

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Stir well.

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Eat and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Get it?!

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…….
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