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Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Sage
Carrie Brown & chef Peter Brown, Jimtown Store
Serves 6-8

This soup has fall colors, fall flavors, and even “fallen leaves” by way of garnish. Its apple-sage and squash-allspice flavor combinations may well have thoughts of Thanksgiving dancing in your head. Full-flavored and silky—but without cream—it’s elegant enough to be served as the first course of a dinner party, but hearty enough for a soup and salad supper on a busy, weekday night.

2 1/2 lbs      (2 medium) butternut squash, halved, seeds and strings scooped out
2 Tbsp         vegetable oil
2 Tbsp         unsalted butter (or substitute oil)
1 cup          yellow onion, finely chopped
4 small         tart apples, such as Wagner, cored and chopped
4 1/2 cups   chicken stock or reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
1 Tbsp         finely chopped fresh sage
                  kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to tast
⅛tsp            ground allspice
                  Crème Fraiche and freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

For easier clean-up, line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Brush the squash halves all over with the oil and lay them cut side-down on the prepared pan. Bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the peels and roughly chop it.

In a medium pot over moderate heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and apple, partially cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 10 minutes. Add the stock, chopped sage, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, and the allspice and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the squash and simmer uncovered, stirring once or twice, until the squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.

Cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth. The soup can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.

To serve, re-warm the soup over low heat, stirring often, until steaming. Adjust the seasoning. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and a dusting of nutmeg and serve immediately.

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