Butternut squash, the most popular of all the winter squash, makes the perfect autumn dish – it’s divine in any pasta or risotto dish, (substitute it for the pumpkin, in my Pumpkin Risotto with Black Truffles) – but, I think it’s best as a soup. Growing up, my mom used to make us a curried butternut squash soup every autumn – and, the memory of it has remained with me to this day. I’ve taken my inspiration for this dish from my childhood and tried to add layers of flavour to it. By chopping the squash into chunks and tossing it with the spices, the flavours are infused directly into the vegetables during cooking. Roasting them in the oven instead of sautéing in a pan will add a nuttiness, and, roasting the apples with thyme and olive oil will unleash sweet and acidic notes – adding yet another layer of flavour. While I don’t usually add cream to my soups, a drizzle at the end tempers the heat of the chilli and creates the perfect balance of flavours.
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
with Fried Sage (Serves 2)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 quarts of vegetable stock
2 echalion shallots, thinly sliced
1 whole leek, chopped – white part only
2 cooking apples, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic
3 sprigs of thyme, roughly chopped
3 sprigs of parsley, roughly chopped
2 sprig of sage, 1 roughly chopped and 1 to fry
2 sprigs of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
1 tsp each of paprika, cayenne pepper
and ground nutmeg
6 whole cloves, grated
3 t/l of flour, for frying the sage leaves
1 tbl butter
salt and pepper
- Toss the chunks of butternut squash with the spices, olive oil and salt and pepper and the apples with the chopped thyme.
- On separate baking trays, roast the butternut squash with the garlic cloves and the apples at 375 F until fork tender. The butternut squash should take about 25 min and the apples about 10-15 min.
- Meanwhile, in a thick-bottomed saute pan or stockpot, saute the shallots and leeks in the butter with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the herbs and the chopped red chilli pepper. Deglaze with white wine.
- Once the butternut squash and apples have finished roasting, add them to the pot along with the peeled cloves of garlic.
- Add some of the vegetable stock and mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
- Using an immersion hand blender, puree the soup, adding more vegetable stock as necessary. Keep adding stock until you have the desired thickness.
- Pass the blended soup through a sieve and adjust the seasonings.
- Toss the sage leaves in the flour, pat off the excess, and fry in vegetable oil until they turn bright green (about 30 seconds).
- Pour the heated soup into bowls and swirl in a bit of cream. Garnish with the fried sage leaves.