Fall Favorites + Your New Go-To Squash Soup
When the cool weather rolls around, I automatically start to crave traditional fall flavors. Keep reading to learn a bit more about some of my favorite fall produce, and be sure to check out my recipe for Roasted Squash & Apple Soup at the bottom of the page!
I'm not one of those people who does the whole "apple a day" thing. Really, the only time of year that I actually enjoy having an apple every day is during the fall and winter, and I have the increasingly-popular Honeycrisp apple variety to thank for that. Honeycrisps are loved by me (and lots of other people) for their sweet-tart flavor, firm-crisp texture, thin skin, and extreme juiciness. Basically, Honeycrisp apples have every quality you'd look for when searching for an apple to spend the rest of your life with, and they're perfect for more than just snacking! You can use them in baked goods, to make apple sauce, for juicing, or even in savory preparations like my Roasted Squash & Apple Soup.
Speaking of squash, my two favorite varieties of winter squash are Butternut and Delicata. See that cute bowl of squash up there? Remember what I told you about our tomato situation in the garden? Well, Jon and I accidentally grew that Butternut this year, too! We must have had tomato and winter squash seeds that sprouted in our compost, because like I said, we never planted tomatoes or winter squash, and just look at how that turned out. Anyway, while I think it's safe to say that most people are familiar with Butternut squash, known for their smooth, creamy texture, sweet, slightly nutty flavor, and versatility in both sweet and savory recipes, Delicata tend to be a bit harder to find. But once you do, the possibilities are endless! Delicata have an elongated shape with green stripes. The skin is also thinner than Butternut, so it's totally edible (read: extra nutrients and fiber, and A LOT less prep time in the kitchen!) I love to cut these in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and roast them with a bit of butter and sage. You can also stuff them with any number of things...turkey sausage, brown rice, and lentils are all delicious options. Don't forget--you can roast the seeds of any winter squash, just like you do with pumpkin seeds!
Fresh Sage & Rosemary
I love to cook with fresh herbs. We're lucky to have a whiskey barrel in our backyard that's full of rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, and more. We even have an entire whiskey barrel just for mint (that stuff grows like crazy, in case you didn't know!) I love to scatter a few sprigs of rosemary over the top of a piece of chicken or pork before roasting, or throw a handful of sage into a pan of winter squash cubes seasoned with salt, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup. As good as all of that sounds, my go-to use for sage is the classic preparation of infusing it into brown butter. Simply melt unsalted butter and slowly cook it until it turns golden in color, then add a handful of sage leaves. The sage will crisp up and infuse the butter with all of its rich flavor. Drizzle over anything you can think of. Seriously, it's that good.
Roasted Squash & Apple Soup
Makes about 6 cups
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (add more for a thinner soup)
½ butternut squash (about 4 cups), peeled, small diced, and roasted at 400 degrees until soft
1 small onion, peeled, rough chopped, and roasted with the squash
1 Honeycrisp apple, seeded, quartered, and roasted with the squash
¼ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1 tsp fresh sage
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ tsp Kosher salt (or more to taste)
¼ cup heavy cream (or use plain unsweetened non-dairy milk to make this soup vegan!)
Place all ingredients (except the heavy cream) into the container of a high-powered blender (I use a Vitamix, but you can also use a food processor) in the order listed and secure lid. Start the blender on low speed, then slowly increase speed to high. Blend for 6-7 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid. Reduce speed to medium and remove the lid plug. Add heavy cream through the opening. Blend for an additional 20 seconds and serve hot.
I like to garnish this with one of a few things, because garnishes don't make soup exponentially better (said no one ever.) The contenders are: sage brown butter and/or crispy sage leaves, croutons made from your favorite crusty bread, or thick cubes of crisp-cooked bacon.
What are some of your favorite fall dishes? Let me know in the comments!