Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Countdown

I thought I'd start a Thanksgiving Countdown and offer you a few recipes for the coming holiday. The first is Butternut Squash-Apple Soup (you know I love soup). Apples are the perfect autumn food and Butternut Squash is the perfect color for autumn. When I was growing up in New Mexico one of my favorite things was to drive to Pena Blanca and the Dixon apple orchard and buy apples and cider. The orchard is north of Albuquerque in a beautiful valley. Wonderful place for a picnic. Nice memories for me. Back to the soup! This recipe is a combination of a couple of recipes I found - one in Bon Appetit and the other in the Witch in the Kitchen cookbook by Cait Johnson.

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 6 cups) (I buy one large butternut squash and let it go at that!)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 cups (or more) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups filtered apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • Freshly grated nutmeg and ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste and perhaps a little fresh thyme
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Saute the onion and garlic until golden then add the vegetable broth, apple cider or apple juice, brandy, diced squash, sweet potato, and apple. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until squash, potato and apple are tender. Add spices. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. In small batches, carefully puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. (I prefer a little chunky.) Watch the amount of liquid. You can always add more juice/cider/or broth at the end if you want to thin the soup.

Ina Garten has Butternut Squash and Apple Soup that is very similar. She uses more squash (2 large) and more apples (about 4) and less liquid (2 cups of water to cook and adds 2 cups of apple juice or cider at the end after the soup has been pureed -- again with the idea that you can add liquid at the end to make it the consistency you want). Also, she adds 2 tablespoons of mild curry to the soup.

You get the idea! It is a beautiful and tasty soup for the Thanksgiving season.

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