Fall Fest: Roasted Apple and Squash Soup

Do you ask yourself,  what’s in season?
Do you know the difference between availability and seasonality?
Have you been to the farmer’s market lately?
Answering these simple questions can change your direction as a cook and you might even find your food tastes better, much better.  Here in Southern California, because of our Mediterranean climate, the transition from summer to fall is a little slower than most other places where the weather has already changed dramatically.  There are farmer’s still selling strawberries and pushing out the last crop of heirloom tomatoes and peaches.  Of course it is nothing compared to the bounty of summer,  but like a street vendor trying to sell you a knock off Gucci purse, they are nonetheless,  trying to convince you that their fruit is delicious and you have to take it home.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat peaches in October any more than I want to see Santa Claus on the 4th of July!  I’m ready for fall food and have no appetite for spring asparagus or summer berries.
Remember- just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Apples are a perfect example of availability vs. seasonality. There is never a shortage of apples, an apple picker’s strike, or ever a fear they might run out.  You can pretty much find apples everywhere from the grocery store to a Mc Donald’s Happy Meal – apples are available twelve months out of the year. Right now is apple season and there is no comparison to the flavor of an in seasonapple.  If you have ever bit into a crisp, perfectly sweet, tart, juicy, apple that drips down your chin- then you know what I’m talking about.  These are just a few of my favorites; Braeburn, Jonathan, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Cameo, and Jazz.
This apple squash soup  is a staple on my fall menu,  both my clients and family adore it.  I’ve tried many different ways over the years to perfect the combining of these simple ingredients- simmering, sweating, thickening, pureeing… The method I ended up with that produced the best flavor? …roasting.   I roast the onions, squash and apples to caramelize the natural sugars, and then puree everything with a bit of broth, season … and it’s done. It’s a warm and comforting balance of sweet and savory flavors with just a slight earthiness from the herbs.  It’s wonderful with a basket of crusty bread for lunch or paired up with some spicy bratwurst or chicken apple sausages for dinner.
Roasted Apple and Squash Soup with Fresh Thyme
serves 6 dinner size portions3 pound butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cut into large dice pieces
4 sweet/tart apples- peeled, cored, and cut into large dice pieces
1 cup yellow or white onion- cut into large pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sage4 cups low sodium chicken broth1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Adjust rack to the upper third of the oven
Place squash, apples, and onions onto a lined baking sheet
Toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and sage
Place into the oven and roast for approximately 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and slightly golden brown
Remove from the oven and place half of the roasted, onions apples and squash in a blender
Carefully puree in batches with chicken broth and pour into a large soup pot
Simmer soup over low heat and season with nutmeg, thyme leaves and adjust seasoning with the last teaspoon of salt
If soup is too thick it can be adjusted with additional chicken broth or water
Serve warm

18 comments… add one
  • Renee Fontes October 15, 2010, 3:38 am

    Well I hope I'm the first,(I know I won't be the last) to say how delicious and fall like your soup looks! Yumm. Great job friend!

  • High Plains Drifters October 15, 2010, 12:04 pm

    hate to get all melodramatic on you, but we recently said goodbye to a foster child who stayed with us for a year, and he just adored honeycrisps. just saw them back on the grocer's shelf, and almost cried. i'm going to have to ease into apple season this year. or maybe just get one good cry out of my system and push through!

    cheers!

  • Faith October 15, 2010, 3:17 pm

    Honeycrisp, Empire, and Cortlands are some of my favorites this time of year. There's nothing better than fresh, local produce. Delicious looking soup!

  • bigFATcook October 15, 2010, 5:24 pm

    Looks yummy !!! :)))

    Greets from BFC !!!!!

  • Sippity Sup October 15, 2010, 9:09 pm

    You weren't kidding. Spectacular soup. But you forgot to mention the apple to me. So that turned out to be an extra sweet, earthy and delightful surprise for me once I got here! GREG

  • Rachel October 16, 2010, 12:41 am

    I'm happy to say I can answer yes to all three of your initial questions in this post!
    I love the idea of roasting all the soup ingredients first – so many soups just call for throwing everything right in the pot but I'm sure roasting would bring out more flavor.

  • Nicole@ The Dirty Oven October 16, 2010, 2:36 am

    Looks so good. Your pictures and blog make me just smile and it has been much needed lately. I just wish that it would get a bit cooler so I could enjoy a soup….please!!! My fridge is up and running so I am back to baking mode. Ready to make my baby boy's first birthday cupcake!! I love the fall…. oh and your blog 🙂

  • Jean at The Delightful Repast October 16, 2010, 3:23 pm

    This is a truly outstanding soup! Could become an autumn regular at my house. Your photos are gorgeous!

  • Feast on the Cheap October 17, 2010, 1:10 am

    Looks wonderful, beautiful photos! We're actually whipping up a squash/pear soup this weekend so we'll let you know how that goes… Hope you're having a very merry Saturday!

  • Lana October 17, 2010, 1:23 am

    Louise, I love the color of your soup! The last couple of days have put me in Fall mood, and I am looking forward to the bounty of the season.
    I always roast my pumpkin and squash for soup, but never tried roasting the onions. What a great idea, and a time-saver, too.
    I am spoiled from eating in season, fresh, natural apples in Serbia, and the big, perfect, glistening orbs do not appeal to me at all. Give something crispy, crunchy, juicy, a bit green, a bit red, and I am happy. Braeburn and Honeycrisp are my favorites.
    Great photos, as usual!

  • Lynne @ CookandBeMerry October 18, 2010, 12:22 am

    Hi Louise ~ I wish I had gotten a chance to talk to you more at Camp Blogaway. Your blog is so beautiful and your photos are inspiring. I am now happy to put away the grill and start using the fall produce in my recipes. Your squash soup looks fantastic btw.

  • ~ Chef Louise October 18, 2010, 1:13 am

    Lana- isn't this weather great? finally some cozy fall days worthy of soup.

    Lynne- it's a small world, I know we will run into eachother again soon. thanks for the kudos

    High Plains – thanks for sharing~ that's a sweet story…

  • Amanda Stuckey October 18, 2010, 2:05 am

    This looks gorgeous! I had a butternut squash in the fridge today and really wanted to throw an apple in like this. I went to my fridge and for the first time in my life, had no apples. It was a tragedy.
    I comforted myself with normal butternut squash soup.

  • Angry Asian October 18, 2010, 5:13 pm

    i have always liked adding apples to my soups, it adds such a natural sweetness to it, not to mention the extra nutrients!

    your soup is beautiful, reminds me of a bright but cold october sunday, perfect to tuck into with a lap blanket and good book in hand.

  • She's Cookin' October 18, 2010, 8:17 pm

    The apple adds a whole new dimension to butternut squash soup! Inspiring as always! Thanks for stressing the difference between availability and seasonality – lol, Santa Claus in July is a great analogy 🙂

  • marla {family fresh cooking} October 20, 2010, 4:50 am

    I agree with the comments above-the roasting of the ingredients does add so much flavor as does the idea of purchasing in season produce. Love the butternut-squash combo. Your photos are just beautiful, the color of the bowls accents the soup so nicely! xo

  • erica October 20, 2010, 7:12 pm

    just made your soup last night- it was lovely. thanks so much for the recipe, it was just the thing on a cold night. returning from a long business trip to a mostly empty refrigerator (save a lucky butternut squash) almost kept me out of the kitchen but this was easy and quick to pull together with few ingredients. i added a shallot and some cloves of garlic. the leftovers today were even better!

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