Sweet soups are always popular with the young set. This one gets its kicks from 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 depth of flavor.
• 2 butternut squashes, about 5 pounds total
• 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 large or 2 small carrots, chopped
• 1 stalk celery, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 3 quarts water
• 2 teaspoons sea salt
• 1 cup apple cider
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
• 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
• Several grinds of black pepper
1. To prepare squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tips off both ends of the squashes, so they rest flat when placed upright on a cutting board. Cut squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
2. Coat squashes and a medium baking pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast squash for 1 hour.
3. To prepare stock, warm remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for about 6 minutes, until fragrant and onions become limp. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
4. Add water and salt and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.
5. Strain stock and return liquid to the stockpot.
6. When squashes are done roasting, remove from oven, allow to cool, then scoop cooked flesh out of the peel. Purée cooked squash in a food processor or mash by hand.
7. Add cider, heavy cream, thyme, marjoram and squash purée to the stockpot containing the stock. Stir well and heat over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with pepper. Serve warm.
Read more: Learn about Ashley English's mountain homestead in Gathering Together: Building a Homestead in North Carolina.
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