There is something really lovely about the smell of apples cooking with onion. Especially when they’ve been showered with black pepper. We usually associate apples with sweet flavors, but mixing them with savory ingredients can be a wonderful way to appreciate the complexity of their flavor. Tonight as I pondered my options for dinner I decided to make use of some leftover roasted butternut squash and a few of the many apples populating the bottom drawer of my refrigerator to see if I could turn out some sweet and savory magic.
The following ingredients went in to the apple-butternut squash soup I made tonight:
4 medium sized Empire apples, pealed, cored and cut in to small chunks
half a vidalia onion, chopped
about 2 cups roasted butternut squash in large cubes
32 oz container organic chicken broth
2 bay leaves
lots of black pepper
Yes, it’s really that simple! I sauteed the onions and apple pieces with a little butter and olive oil – and the black pepper. Once the chicken broth was simmering in a large saucepan, I threw in the butternut squash and bay leaves. I’m not really sure what bay leaves do, or even what they taste like, but I find that they make soups taste more soup-like and substantial. I dumped the apples and onions in to the saucepan and let the whole mixture sit for about ten minutes or so at a low temperature. Finally, I used an immersion blender to puree the soup to a texture that was slightly lumpy, but with no clearly identifiable pieces of any of the ingredients swimming around.
I usually add peanut butter and soy milk to my butternut squash soup, and I was about to do that this evening, but when I tasted it in that final stage I was impressed by the delicate flavor of the apples and knew any creamy or heavy ingredients would be overpowering. When my daughter first tasted the soup she shook her head with the tartness and said “NO!” but about fifteen minutes later she was scooping spoonfuls into her mouth. It’s not exactly magical, but this soup has the simple, tasty goodness of fall flavors.