This was a VERY yummy soup, and it is VERY easy. We got some excellent applewood smoked cheddar which went beautifully with the apple and squash flavors. It was so good! We would definitely make this again. Make sure you use a good stock though (we used vegetable stock, obviously) because it is a very strong flavor in the soup, as it is the main liquid.
Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar
Food & Wine, via CLBB (sandee)
Butternut squash and apples come into season around the same time in Vermont," Silansky says, "and they go so well together." But this soup’s key ingredient is its smoked-cheddar garnish. Silansky gets his cheese from Grafton Village Cheese Company, a local producer with national distribution that cold-smokes aged cheddar over a maple-wood fire.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
One 1 3/4-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (5 1/4 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 McIntosh apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup coarsely shredded smoked cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
One-inch pieces of chives or thinly sliced sage leaves, for garnish
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.
2. In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
3. Heat a medium skillet. Add the butter and diced apple and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls; garnish with the smoked cheddar, sautéed apples and chives; serve.
MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat before garnishing with the cheddar, apples and chives.
Yield: 4 servings