Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Recipe: Winter Squash Apple Soup

We recently bought a half-bushel of Jonathan apples from the market.  We were told that they were quite similar to the Ambrosia apples that we had been devouring the week before.  Sadly while the flavor was similar the skin and the texture of the flesh was not nearly as nice.  So we were a little unsure of what to do with them all.  
We made an always tasty apple crisp, using Oh She Glows’ Mother Nature’s Apple Crumble, as well as more Winter de Gallo Salsa, but were still searching for a good idea of what to do with them.  The search brought us to The Ontario Apple Growers website where we found the idea for a soup.
Their recipe features sweet potatoes but we decided to substitute a winter squash. *Digression*
Why does everyone share winter squash recipes in the fall?  Now is the time when we need to be eating the appropriately named winter squash!  After a nice long time sitting in the cellar or pantry the squash have increased in sweetness and flavor and their beautiful sunset colors remind us of the wonderful summer that we hope will one day return!
Our recipe ended up combining elements of that recipe with a Martha Stewart recipe (yes, for some reason Martha keeps coming through for us!).  
The final result was a soup that was both sweet and savory.  The garnish of spiced nuts (walnuts or heartnuts) and diced apples gave the soup some pizzazz and excitement while the base was pure creaminess.  

Winter Squash Apple Soup
  • 1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter or oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, plus 1 extra apple, diced and tossed in lemon juice, for a garnish
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp.ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp.ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp.ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought vegetable stock
  • 2 1/2 cups water, plus more if needed
Spicy Nuts Garnish
  • 1 cup walnuts or heartnuts, in large pieces, for a garnish
  • 1 tbsp. butter or butter substitute
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Roast the squash for 30-45 minutes, until it is fragrant and beginning to turn brown on the edges.  
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven and add the onions.  Fry the onions for 4-5 minutes then add the roasted squash, apples, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, pepper, vegetable stock, and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft.  
Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor.  Add extra water if the soup is too thick, then serve.
While the soup is simmering make the spiced nuts.  Melt the second tablespoon of butter in a frying pan, then add the nuts, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Fry, stirring frequently until very fragrant and the nuts are beginning to brown on their edges.  

Serve the soup with the spicy nuts and diced apple for garnishes.  

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