From Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English. All rights reserved. © 2014 Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Photograph © 2014 by Jen Altman
Sweet soups are always popular with the young set. This one gets its kicks from both the squash and some apple cider, another seasonal favorite. The recipe begins with making a vegetable stock, a crucial step in the soup achieving its intense depths of flavor.
2 butternut squashes, weighing about
5 lbs. total
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 qts. water
2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh marjoram
Several grinds of black pepper
Prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the tips off of both ends of the butternut squashes, so that they can rest flat when placed upright on a cutting board. Carefully cut the squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Coat the squashes and a medium baking pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast the squash for 1 hour.
Prepare the stock: Warm the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and the onions become limp. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the water and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the stock though a colander into a bowl and return the liquid to the stockpot. Compost, discard, or store the cooked vegetables for later use.
Prepare the soup: When the squashes are done roasting, remove the baking pan from the oven. Allow to cool, then scoop the cooked flesh out of the peel. Puree the cooked squash in a food processor or mash by hand.
Add the cider, heavy cream, thyme, marjoram, and squash puree to the stockpot containing the stock. Stir well and heat over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with pepper. Reheat if necessary, and serve warm.