Fall has arrived. Sort of. Since I live in South Florida, changes in season are barely noticeable blips on the thermometer. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, having lived here for 24 years, but every autumn I am nostalgic for those cool crisp days, the vibrant colors of the changing leaves and the ability to walk outside in a pair of jeans and a jacket without melting like a popsicle in August.
As I write this, it is 88 degrees with a feels like temperature of 93. Such is life in the tropics. It will be at least two more months before I even get a whiff of cooler weather (by cooler, I’m talking 80’s during the day and high 60’s at night). So I will do what I always do — immerse myself in the flavors of the fall season. And turn down the A/C!
I love the simplicity of soups and one of my standards for fall highlights the humble squash and turns it into something really special. Take a look at the ingredients for this soup and you’ll see, it’s pretty much an homage to autumn. It’s sweet and savory at the same time — warmed with cinnamon and nutmeg with a kick of curry and finished with a swirl of cream. Fennel, onion and apple are the perfect back note to roasted butternut and acorn squash.
In the past, I would peel and chop the squash then saute it in my dutch oven. Do you know what a pain it is to peel and chop butternut and acorn squash? I think it must be my hands — they’re too small. Or the squash is too large to hold while I’m trying to peel it — it always seems to slip from my grasp, into the sink. I don’t fight it any more. I simply cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and fibers, and roast them! Roasting softens the squash and intensifies the flavors and I avoid having bloody knuckles! Win-win!
Served with a green salad, a piece of crusty bread and a chilled glass of white wine – what a way to welcome the “change in seasons” — even if it is just wishful thinking on my part!
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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This simple soup is a silky blend of apples, squash, onions, fennel and carrot. Great with a salad and crusty bread for dinner!
- 1 3 pound butternut squash halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 2 pouond acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeded
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 fennel bulb coarsely chopped, feathery fronds trimmed and reserved for garnish
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 granny smith apples peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup apple juice or cider (if you don't have juice, you can use an additional cup of vegetable broth)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 375°. Brush squash halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place squash, flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is soft. Rest squash until it's cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 5-6 minutes. Add apples and cook for 4-5 minutes longer, until softened. Add curry, cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the vegetable broth to the fennel, carrot mixture. Scoop the flesh from the roasted squash into the dutch oven and break apart a little with a wooden spoon.
Working in batches, transfer the soup from the pot to a blender or food processor. Be careful when processing as hot soup can splatter -- to avoid accidents, only fill the blender or food processor to about halfway up. Place the lid on securely and cover with a dish towel to avoid any potential splatters. Blend the soup until silky smooth. Transfer pureed soup to a soup tureen to serve or divvy into food prep storage containers for easy lunches or dinners at the ready.