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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream

from Sunday Soup
by Betty Rosbottom from Chronicle Books

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash (from 2-to 2 1/2-pound squash; cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 medium leeks)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped, plus an extra apple for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
Kosher salt
3/4 cup sour cream
5 bacon slices, sautéed until crisp, drained, and crumbled

Makes 6 servings

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in
Sunday Soup
from Chronicle Books


In New England, where I live, two of the most prolific fall crops are apples and squashes. Inspired by these two seasonal treasures, I combined Granny Smith apples with butternut squash to create the recipe that follows. A swirl of cider cream (made with cider that has been reduced, then combined with sour cream) and crispy bits of bacon top this silken-smooth mixture that delectably combines sweet, tart, and salty flavors.

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy pan set over medium-high heat. When hot, add squash, leeks, carrots, and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Add apples, thyme, and sage. Add stock and 1 cup of the cider. Bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until vegetables and apples are tender, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, make the cider cream. Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in a small, heavy saucepan until it reduces to 1/4 cup, for about 5 minutes. Cool, then place sour cream in a small bowl and whisk in reduced cider. (Cider cream can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate until needed.)

3. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill, and return soup to the pot. (Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.) Taste soup and season with salt, as needed. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)

4. For the garnish, halve and core the reserved apple, then cut one half into 12 paper-thin slices. (Eat or save remaining half for another use.)

5. To serve, ladle soup into 6 shallow bowls and drizzle with cider cream. Garnish each serving with crumbled bacon and a couple of apple slices.

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