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« Sugar and Spice | Main | A Spa Day for Your Wok »

Soup for two! Plus Leftovers

By Lori Powell

Soup time is here.  I had to turn the heat on yesterday.  I realized that my hands had lost some of their feeling due to how cold my kitchen was without the oven on…which I must admit, is a rare thing. It would have been lovely to have my hands wrapped around a mug of homemade soup.

In my neck of the Hudson Valley, the arrival of fall carries with it the aroma of dried leaves (carpeting the floor of my front yard which I will have to address soon) and wood burning in someone’s fireplace or wood stove (I have neither and yearn for one or the other) with smoke that wafts in the direction of my house. The Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere, as well as the haunted barn and headless horseman signs. 

My personal celebration is to make soup, roast any of the cheaper cuts of meat, cook root vegetables and prepare homemade stock. I wish I could share the aromas – inside and outside.  Sheer bliss!

Here is one of my favorite go-to soups to get you in the mood for fall.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Parmesan and Sage
Prep: 25 minutes   Cook: 50 minutes
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds butternut squash or Kabocha or pumpkin, halved and seeded
½ pound Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into eighths, plus additional slices for garnish
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves plus additional for garnish
6 ounces quartered shiitake mushrooms
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick shallow baking pan and place squash halves cut sides down onto pan. Roast squash in middle of oven for about 45 minutes or until squash is very tender. Remove squash from oven and turn halves, cut sides up, to cool slightly.

While squash is roasting heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, over moderately high heat and sauté apple, turning, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender with tongs. Add onions to skillet, and cook until softened and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and fresh chopped sage and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer mixture to a blender. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook mushrooms, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer three fourths to blender.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash pulp, discarding skin.  Add squash pulp in batches  with broth  and cheese to blender, and puree until smooth. As each batch is blended, transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in, if needed, about 1 cup water to reach desired consistency. Bring soup to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh apple slices, remaining shiitake mushrooms, sage leaves and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

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