Apple Squash Soup

Remember that crazy good Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese I shared last week?

Again with the apples! This time in soup. But not just any soup – quite possibly my favourite soup in the world. In this heartwarming potage, earthy butternut squash plays beautifully off of sweet-tart apples and warm spices.

Five spice powder is a wonderfully aromatic blend of spices used in Chinese cuisine – cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds and star anise. It hints at pumpkin pie, but is a touch more exotic. It’s worth looking for (and makes this soup really special!) but if you can’t find it, allspice can be used in a pinch.

The squash and apples are simmered until completely soft, before being blitzed with an immersion blender. The rich, creamy soup that results tastes indulgent even without actual cream, but a splash does take it over the top; I add it when serving to special guests.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 L (1 quart) chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp chinese five spice
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 cup cream, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until just translucent, not browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash and apple, then stir in chicken stock, five spice and sage. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until squash is very soft, about 30 minutes.
  3. Puree soup using an immersion blender, or else puree in batches using a regular blender. Stir in cream, if using, and return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
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