Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roasted Butternut-Apple Soup. Thanksgiving Worthy!


                                                               

Today I made a very rich and delicious soup.  A small bowl of it would be perfect as a starter for a Thanksgiving meal, or for a Black Friday lunch with bread and a salad. This soup is such a pretty color, it would also be a lovely addition to an autumn buffet meal; it would be fun to set out in petite clear “shot” glasses, with little spoons provided for each.

There is a story as to how this soup came to be . . . 


Yesterday I purchased a two-pound box of pre-cut fresh butternut squash on a whim, thinking it would be good to use for something.  Today, I was trapped in my kitchen FOR SEVERAL HOURS, as I “chatted” on-line with three different Apple technicians, all trying to help me fix a glitch in my new computer! I can't decide if this was just another life lesson to reinforce what I wrote about yesterday - or an example which proves I oversimplified life by saying “the best thing to do is just ask”?!  Either way, with nothing to do while waiting between chat responses, I surveyed what else was in our fridge, and proceeded to make soup. 



I decided to roast the vegetables in the oven instead of just sautéing them, as I know this can deepen the flavors. After preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I got out two roasting pans. In one, I spread out the squash pieces, along with half an onion, and some sliced garlic cloves.  I peeled, cored and sliced three apples, and spread those in the other pan.   (I used gala apples, but if you prefer your soup to be less sweet, tart Granny Apples might be a better choice. I poured a copious amount of olive oil over the fruit and vegetables.  In other words, I generously drizzled the olive oil, so that the pieces became well- coated when I stirred the mixture a little. 

I baked the apples just until they were soft (about 20 minutes) and continued cooking the squash for about another 10 minutes, until the pieces had begun to blacken. Not really burned, just very dark. I must confess I was pretty distracted at that point, as my computer seemed to be getting even more impaired with each step of the instructions provided by the technician. About the time I should have been checking on the squash, the whole computer screen just started blinking rapidly on and off!



When I saw how dark I had let the squash become, it galvanized me into racing for the potholders to pull the pan out of the oven.  I worried needlessly though - this color produced exactly the flavor I was hoping for!


I didn't really need to use an industrial-sized pot.  After all, I was only making soup for three of us - albeit with the hope of some for a second meal. Instead, I just scraped the roasted vegetables and apple slices from the roasting pans into my big soup pot. Even that was probably a bigger vessel than required.  I added a teaspoon of salt, four cups of chicken broth, and about a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves. I first had to strip the little leaves from the branch I had picked, from the tarragon plant in my garden just before the weather froze! 



Even though roasting made the vegetables and apples quite soft, to really intensify the flavor of the soup I cooked it a little longer on the stovetop. I brought the contents of the pot to a boil, and then decreased the heat to a low simmer for another half hour.  

While it cooked, my faith in the Apple technician was restored, and my computer was repaired!  I began to read a few riveting blog posts by other bloggers ... and nearly forgot to stir the pot once in a while! 



Once all the contents of the pot were easily smashed, I used my stick blender to puree the ingredients right in the pot until very smooth.  The soup was really thick, so I thinned it with an additional two cups of chicken broth, and simmered it a little longer.  



This next step is optional - and it does add a few calories and some fat. Omitting it would have been a healthier alternative, but I went ahead and added a quarter cup of half-and-half, to make the soup a bit more special.

I ladled the hot soup in my favorite bowls, sprinkled each with a teaspoon of roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and dropped a small dollop of sour cream on top.  Rounding out our meal was a salad and crusty bread. I even set the table with good linens (not something I typically do on a weeknight for just the three of us), just so I could take a photo for this post!



I did remember to take a few pictures on my iPhone throughout this cooking process, and used my Nikon camera to photograph the finished product.  I think the pictures quite accurately show the deep color of the soup.  I hope that you enjoy the recipe!

Usually, when I participate in the Words for Wednesday word challenge, I write a piece of fiction. When I saw today's word prompts, however, I decided to just use them to write this post.  The suggested words were: industrial, copious, galvanized, branch, riveting, camera.  I was quite delighted when I saw these words, as I knew that I could use them here! 

And now - - the recipe:


Roasted Butternut-Apple Soup with flavors of garlic and tarragon
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Roasted Butternut-Apple Soup

Ingredients:

Butternut squash, 2 pounds - cubed
White or Yellow Onion, 1/2, chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves, sliced thin
Apples, 3, peeled, cored and chopped (Any variety; the sweeter the apples, the sweeter the soup will be.)
Olive oil, ~ 2 or 3 tablespoons
Chicken broth, 6 cups, divided
Fresh tarragon, about 1 tablespoon, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste
Half-and-Half, 1/4 cup (optional)
Garnish: Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sour cream 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Spread squash, onions and garlic in a single layer in a roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Spread apple slices in another pan.  
  • Drizzle both pans with olive oil and stir gently until contents are well coated.
  • Roast both pans at the same time, but remove apples when soft, after about 20 minutes.
  • Remove butternut squash mixture when soft and blackened (but not really burned).
  • Put contents from both pans into a large pot.  
  • Add seasonings, tarragon and 4 cups of broth
  • Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer; cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are really soft, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
  • Use a stick blender to puree until smooth, or let contents of pot cool and then puree in batches in a blender.
  • Thin to desired consistency with additional chicken broth; simmer for an additional few minutes.  
  • Half-and-half may be added for an even creamier consistency, just before serving (optional).
  • Serve, garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream.
Note: vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth if desired. This soup is very rich and a little sweet - best to serve in small bowls, and offer seconds if desired.

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I am much happier than before I made this soup. My computer is fixed - and it would never had been, had I not asked for help! Also, there is enough soup left-over for at least another meal. If I freeze it, I will already have a part of our Thanksgiving dinner prepared!

Do you ever serve a soup course on Thanksgiving?


This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

                                                               

17 comments :

  1. "Salivating" should have been one of the words, too, because that is what I am doing right now, after reading your delicious recipe and viewing your beautiful photos! Yum!

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    1. What a nice compliment - thank you Marca!

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Marca! I am now starving and after making the mistake of eating Chef Boyardee Ravioli for breakfast this morning I am in need of something good!!!!

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    1. I promise you this is better than what you had for breakfast - just not as quick!

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  3. looks yummy - precut butternut squash - awesome idea.

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    1. Costco sells it around this time of year. It is much easier than baking it in the shell - and just as good! Fresh - just cut by someone else!

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  4. Hi! Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog. I wandered over here and signed on for a subscription. Lovely to follow you here and on Instagram. This soup looks delicious. I make butternut squash soup a lot but my recipe calls for sauteed onion, squash and apple. I'll try it your way. As for being faced with a computer screen that is flashing on and off? Y I K E S. I am so delighted for you that while it took a good 3 hours they were able to get you back up and running. Phewf!

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    1. Hi Kelly - I am glad we found each other! I am subscribing to your delightful blog now too! It seems we have quite a bit in common :)

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  5. Brilliant recipe - and use of the words.
    I love how each week they take all the participants down different routes (and the routes are rarely as delicious as this). Thank you.

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    1. Thanks EC - and I agree. I enjoy reading everyone else's work as much as I like writing something myself with the word prompts. Mine may be delicious - but yours is ALWAYS very clever!!

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  6. We're both up too late blogging again! Just saw your comment on my blog :). I love butternut squash and this looks so delicious. Sorry that your new computer is giving you trouble, but glad everything is working now.

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    1. Lots of late nights blogging -right Lana?! Not sure if it was a glitch to start with, or something I did to the computer - techs had no idea how it happened. I just hope it doesn't happen again!

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  7. Heehee! Surely the tastiest of all the Words for Wednesday blog posts, you clever, clever girl! :)

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  8. This photo is great. I am interested in curating an online exhibit of food photography taken by fellow SITS members on my blog The 50 Co-Op. I can be reached at thefiftycoop@gmail.com. I would like to include the at the very top of this post. At this time, my blog is non-commercial.

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    1. Thank you Ashley! I would be honored if you would include my photo. I look forward to seeing the post!

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  9. Yum! I am trying this one today!

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Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!