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Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Nutmeg

(recipe, Mitchell Davis)


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Introduction

This is a delicious and beautiful soup, ideal for the fall and winter holidays. I've made the cream optional because without it, the soup has a homey, comforting quality; with it, the soup is a little more refined. For even more sophistication, make a garnish of sautéed apple cubes, toasted pumpkin seeds, crumbled bacon, and/or buttered croutons.

Ingredients

  1. 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
  2. 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  3. 1 butternut squash (3 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes (about 6 cups)
  4. 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  5. 2 medium cooking apples, such as Northern Spy or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and chopped
  6. 1 small Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. ¼ tsp. (scant) ground nutmeg
  9. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1 cup heavy cream (optional)

Steps

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the squash, carrots, apples, potato, bay leaf, nutmeg, 4 teaspoons salt, and a scant ¼ teaspoon pepper, as well as 6 cups of water. (The water should be at least 1 inch or so above the vegetables; if not, add more.) Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the carrots are fall-apart tender.
  2. Remove the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade, or a regular blender, purée the soup until smooth, working in batches if necessary. If you cooked the soup long enough, there will be no need to strain it.
  3. If not using the cream, adjust the seasoning and serve. If using cream, stir in the cream and bring the soup back up to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes. Adjust the seasoning (you’ll need another teaspoon or so of salt and more pepper) and serve.

Note

Advance Prep: The soup can be made a day or two in advance, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. If made with cream, a skin may form on top as it reheats. Simply stir it back into the pot. Leftovers: Made without cream, the soup will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator; made with cream, it will last for one week. The soup can also be frozen for up to four months.