I am not one to let summer go without a fight. I love everything about summer – the humidity, the heat, the pool, the produce. Oh, how I love the produce. I tend to overbuy and this summer, that tendency was coupled with some wild pregnancy-related hoarding habits. Around 35 weeks or so, I had no fewer than ten containers of berries in the fridge, at which point my husband wondered aloud if I was doing okay.
Because I love summer, I’ve always resented fall a bit. It’s the season that takes summer away, after all. About ten years ago, though, I was at a friend’s house in Houston and she declared, “I cannot wait for fall to come. I love cooking with squash.”
That boggled my mind. Squash? Who wants squash? And incidentally, that squash she was lauding meant no more summer tomatoes. Or cucumbers. Or berries.
Nonetheless, inspired by her passion, I made it a point to explore cooking with squashes of all sorts.
I started with pumpkin puree, but it’s not my favorite. I eventually expanded my repertoire (and taste buds) to the point that I now regularly consume all types of fall squashes: butternut, acorn, kuri, spaghetti, and delicata. I love them all.
About six years ago I started making a butternut squash soup. I played around with the recipe for a few years and now that I have kids, I’ve got a version that is decidedly kid-friendly yet complex enough for the grown-ups, too. Case-in-point: my 5 year old ate four bowls for dinner the other night.
A few notes before you begin, though. First, if you want to jazz it up, consider adding a dash of cayenne and/or some curry powder before you puree. Second, I use coconut milk because I am dairy free, but some grass-fed cream would be fantastic instead if you can tolerate it. Third, you may want to play with the ginger amount a bit, as we like a little kick to our soup. Omit the syrup if you are avoiding sugar. Finally, (and this is really key) use a very large skillet. You will need one to get the squash to brown well.
I still lament summer’s end. But fall and I? We’re starting to flirt with each other a bit.
Butternut Apple Soup
- 1 large butternut squash (or two small)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 medium apples (I used Granny Smith)
- 2 TBSP high quality solid fat (I used a combo of bacon grease and duck fat)
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 c bone broth or other stock
- 1/2 TBSP maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 c coconut milk (full fat)
- pepitas for garnish
- Peel butternut squash. Cut into cubes. (You should have approx. 6 c.)
- Peel apples. Dice.
- Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add fat and swirl in pan.
- Add squash to pan. Stirring frequently, allow it to brown. (This may take 20 minutes or more, depending on your pan.)
- When squash has browned, add salt and apples. Continue to stir for about 3 minutes.
- Add ginger, bone broth, maple syrup and nutmeg.
- Lower heat and cover.
- Cook until squash is falling apart, anywhere from 10 to 20 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Scoop a cup or so of mixture into a high quality blender or food processor*. Puree. Repeat until entire batch is pureed well.
- Add coconut milk. Puree until incorporated.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with pepitas if desired.
*I have tried using an immersion blender for this recipe but find I have better results and a more pleasant texture to my soup with the food processor.