Ta da…..squash and apple soup!
It’s only taken a few months to get a new post out. I think we should start calling this an, ahem, occasional food blog. Since Eve and I started this, over 4 years ago now, life has seriously gotten in the way of time spent creating Ant & Anise — to peruse, experiment, measure, write down precise instructions, photograph and, at the end of all that, have something meaningful to say about a recipe.
And maybe that’s okay.
Because it does take time. Hours and hours for each post. But hours to explore new food ideas and recipes is something I’ve been short of, in a serious way, for what seems like forever.
Ahem, okay probably more like six or eight months, if I cut the hyperbole. Yep, real life has taken oven. Don’t quit your day job is ringing in my ears right about now.
Big sigh. Deep breath. Another deep breath.
So many things I would like to do with this blog, and so little time to squeeze it all in. Something has to give.
One thing that gave, a lot, was squash from the CSA. Yes, way back in the fall. It’s been that long.
At one point I had four of them on the kitchen counter, and they sat patiently for a few weeks before I decided that’s it, we’re doing a blitz on roasted squash around here. I think I was tired of moving them around to wipe the dust off the counter. I’m like that.
Anyway, squash is one of those vegetables that I
don’t didn’t rush out of my way to buy. Partly out of fear. It still kind of freaks me out. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I still have visions of having my chef’s knife taking a wrong turn and slicing my left hand open from wrist to fingertip.
Those rinds are hard suckers, no getting around it. Tackling four at once help to
squash (sorry, bad pun) take away the fear, and I’m mostly over it now. In fact, I just bought a kabocha squash today, and it’s going on the chopping block this weekend.
The best advice I have for cutting into squash is to take it slow. Super slow. Have a decent cutting board and knife, keep your fingers safe, and don’t be in a rush. Once you’ve cut a squash in half, do a happy dance because the worst part is over. And the result will be so very, very rewarding.
The roasting blitz turned out to be a catalyst for a few new favorites around here. First up, squash and apple soup. It’s substantial for a blustery winter day yet not too heavy, creamy with the addition of coconut milk, and has a lovely depth of flavor from not only the apple, but from roasting the squash before it’s simmered with the onion, garlic and other soup ingredients.
Take a deep breath, and a sharp knife, cut into that squash rind, and don’t look back.
You can do this. And you’ll be very glad you did.
Roasting the squash before you add it to the soup adds a subtle depth of flavor. An easy, yet impressive, soup to make for guests or for when you need to warm up from the cold. Adapted from John Bishop's Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from his Simply Bishop's book.
- 1 medium squash (butternut, kabocha), peeled and cut in 1-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 Fuji apples, cored, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 Fuji apple
- slices of cambozola cheese
- Preheat oven to 375F. Place squash cubes on foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and, using your hands, toss the cubes to lightly coat with the oil. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until browned.
- In a large soup pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, garam masala, and apple. Cook, stirring gently, for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the sherry, and stir to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add stock, bring to a boil on medium-high heat and then turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the apple is softened, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in coconut milk, then remove from the stove and let cool for 15 minutes.
- In batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the soup into a soup pot, and season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, reheat gently over medium-low heat. Ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with julienned apple slices and a piece of cambozola.
If you like cambozola cheese (and who doesn't??), a lovely accompaniment to the soup is to serve crostini spread with cambozola cheese and thinly sliced apple. Heavenly....