I absolutely love all kinds of squash! Something about the earthiness of them makes me happy! The versatility they lend to dishes is a chef’s dream! Your imagination conjures up so many variations.
I love to roast butternut squash, I make them into delicious “steak fries” and they are sheer perfection! But something about a roasted soup really screams comfort to me and this is indulgent as well as comforting. I like serving this soup with the fried sage leaves, they add such a balanced touch and make for a beautiful presentation.
This soup is really a two-step process but before you dismiss it, let me just say the second step is a short one to finish the soup, all the work is done mostly on a sheet pan in the oven. It is a snowy day, with blizzard like conditions here in New Jersey, as most of the East coast is getting hit with an arctic blast of cold air, and snowfalls expected to be between a half a foot to a foot when all is said and done, which is why I can say with brute honesty, I would never survive as a homesteader in Alaska. I had to get the sage from my garden outside my back door today, yes, some herbs are still hanging on, and I was bundled up to go two feet! Knowing I had some delicious soup to come in for helped!
So as I sit here admiring my view from my sliders, I am thankful and blessed for a warm home, food on the table, and healthy and thriving kidlets.
*** Without being preachy, I would like to take a minute to remind you all, at this time of year especially after the holidays, local food banks are low with donations, everyone is strapped from the holidays, and has long since stopped giving. It only takes a few minutes to buy some extra non- perishables, or donate some items from your pantry no one has been consuming. I urge you to seek out one in your community. We have a church three blocks from my home that runs a food pantry and soup kitchen that we like to donate to. Just please, please, please, check expiration dates. The women at the church tell me that they are constantly receiving everyone’s expired canned goods, and that is not helpful, and can get someone very sick, especially the elderly who cannot read the small printed dates, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
Find a way to be thankful and not only will your bounty will increase 10 fold, you will find it makes you truly happy to give to others.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves
A comforting and delicious soup that is so easy, it is perfect for family or fancy enough for company!
- *Crispy sage leaves are the finishing touch to give this soup character. You can omit, but garnish it with toasted pumpkin seeds or a bit of non fat yogurt.
- 1 large butternut squash seeded, peeled and cubed
- 1 large granny smith apple, seeded, peeled and cubed
- 1 small onion diced
- 20 sage leaves, cleaned and dried
- 32 oz. container of chicken or vegetable stock, I prefer chicken
- 1 tsp. of Chinese Five Spice
- 1 1/2 tsp. of Chipotle chili powder **(I like to add spice in many dishes, it’s a matter of personal choice, but believe me it works in this soup, the complexity of the spice is the perfect balance for the roasted veg which gets sweeter with roasting, scale back if you need to but use it, I promise you will not be disappointed)
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream or non-fat half and half
- EVOO (about a tbsp. for the sage leaves) extra for drizzling over the veg for roasting
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, apples, and onion, season with salt and pepper, add in spices. Toss with some EVOO to coat the veg. Turn on to sheet pan in a single layer and roast about 20-25 minutes, until veg are caramelized and roasted.
- While the veg are roasting, in a small skillet over medium high heat, add in some EVOO, when hot, add in about 6 sage leaves or so at a time, allow to get crispy, moving around in pan, about three minutes or so, remove with slotted spoon or wire spider, allow to drain on paper towel lined plate. Season immediately with a wee bit of Kosher salt. Reserve for garnish. *** Don’t throw away that sage infused oil, reserve it for later use. I use mine when I fry up sausage, or when I am roasting chicken, it is already so flavorful, so it will make any dish you are using it in even jazzier!
- In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, add in the veg from the sheet pan, add in the chicken stock and let heat for about 15 min. Puree with emulsion blender, or in a blender, if using a blender, add back to pot, then add heavy cream or half and half, heat another two minutes, then remove from heat. Ladle into bowls, immediately serve with crispy sage leaves on top. Devour!