During this time of the year there is a crisp coolness upon us that leaves us yearning for warmth. Our days are darker and shorter as winter is arriving; you can hardly remember the heat of summer. When the earth has started to release it’s vibrancy you fall into the season of comfort food. What is comforting to one person can be drastically different for another, but universally I believe that all people desire a warm meal on a chilly day.
For me comfort comes from a bowl of flavorful soup. Last year, Jen shared a Winter Squash Soup recipe with me and it quickly became one of my favorites. With the busyness of the holiday season and the abundance of rich food, soup night is a good change. Refreshing and warm this soup offers a delicious combination of elements; the fruity undertones are well balanced by hints of sage and thyme. If you need to pull back and hunker down for the night, this soup will be a perfect match. This soup is a perfect fit for any post holiday diet, whether you’re trying a Clean Eats approach or Vegan or Paleo.
It all starts by roasting the butternut squash until it is tender and easy scoop.
While the squash is roasting it is time to chop.
The first element is a sweet onion that has been sauted in butter.
Then comes the pear, apple, garlic and herbs to start another layer of flavor.
Now the tender roasted squash is added to the pot and you top it off with a hearty chicken broth. Don’t forget to crack your salt and pepper.
This soup becomes silky and smooth by using your emersion blender. Add some tasty sides and you have meal that will keep you warm all night long.
Winter Squash Soup
- 1 large winter squash such a butternut (about 4 to 5 pounds)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is best!)
- 1 small sweet apple
- 1 pear such as Bartlett
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down in a deep baking dish. Add about a 1/2 inch of water and bake for 1 hour. Carefully turn squash over and bake for another 1/2 hour or until it is soft and tender.
Remove the squash from the skin and let cool. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the onion and saute until softened. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chicken/vegetable stock along with the squash, apple, pear and all the spices. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Discard the bay leaves and blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Return to pot and warm until ready to eat.
PS: We’re also sharing a tasty Sausage and Apple Endive Bite that goes perfectly as a side with the Winter Squash Soup!
Sausage and Apple Endive Bites
- 16 ounces of ground sausage
- 1 large stalk of celery chopped
- 1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion
- 1 cup of chopped Honey Crisp apple
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
- Salt and Pepper to taste Olive oil if needed
Use a large sauté pan to cook the sausage on medium heat. Break down the sausage, so it is fully cooked crumbles. Remove and set aside in a bowl. If needed add additional olive to the pan and sauté your chopped onion, celery and apple. When it is nearly finished give it a crack of salt and pepper, as well as a sprinkling of cinnamon. Add this to the sausage and mix evenly. Let cool slightly. Lay out endive on a pretty serving tray, fill each endive leaf with the sausage apple mixture. Top individual endive bites with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and serve.