Butternut Squash Soup

I have an abundance of apples left over from our apple picking extravaganza so don’t be surprised if my upcoming posts share an apple related theme.

I also have a gallon of Lyman Orchards apple cider in my fridge, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to make butternut squash soup. This might seem like a weird connection to make, but I’m always on the lookout for delicious soup recipes that have a creamy texture without actually using heavy cream. I also happen to love butternut squash. Last fall, I discovered a recipe for squash soup in Country Living Holidays that called for apple cider, chicken broth and a Granny Smith apple. I made the recipe shortly after discovering it and I liked the consistency—and that the squash could be boiled right in the pot with the other ingredients rather than having to be roasted separately—but it was a bit too sweet and the apple flavor was overwhelming. So last night I decided to tinker with it, cutting the cider by a half a cup, adding more chicken broth, throwing in a couple of cloves of garlic and finishing it with a swirl of half and half to give it a slightly richer texture. I also got to use my immersion blender, which is fabulous for pureeing soups. You can stick it right in the pot and blend. However, you can also also puree your soup using a blender. Just be sure to work in small batches, since the liquid will be very hot.

I am happy to report that my doctoring worked. This was by far the best batch of butternut squash soup I’ve ever made. It was slightly sweet and had a rich taste, even though I only used a tiny bit of half and half. This is a tasty and healthy alternative to heavier soups. And with butternut squash in abundance this season, why not try it tonight?

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed

1 cup onion

2 cloves garlic

3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

A swirl of half and half or light cream for finishing (optional)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, about five minutes. Add the squash and apple and cook for five more minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and cider, add the salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Puree with an immersion blender or, working in small batches, ladle the soup into a blender and puree until desired consistency. Finish by stirring in a swirl of half and half, top with freshly ground pepper, then serve.

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