I think we’ve all noticed the weather changing and the seasons shifting as the play of summer comes to an end and autumn brings feelings of calm, order, and coziness. The skies are getting woolier, the days a little shorter, and we all have that feeling of wanting to hunker down with some good food and even better company.
One of my favorite parts of the season is going to my local farmers’ market and seeing the changing temperatures splash their bright colors onto the local produce. Vendors are always so excited to show me their latest harvest and this time of year offers such a wonderful riot of flavors.
I absolutely fall in love with the burning reds of end-of-summer peppers and tomatoes. These colorful delights are perfect on top of any salad or even sliced fresh and served with hummus. It’s important to take in these fresh flavors while they are still available and we move towards the earthier veggies of the fall and winter season.
Some of the more unassuming or underrated veggies of this time of year are dark, leafy greens like swiss chard and kale. These greens make a fantastic base for any salad and are also delicious when lightly sautéed and seasoned.
After a successful trip to the farmers’ market I always like to put my fresh produce to work in the kitchen. I think roasted butternut squash soup is the perfect way to usher in the approaching season and this recipe is sure to bring thoughts of changing leaves and the spices of autumn. This soup is wonderful on its own but pair it with a salad, artisanal bread, fennel and endive, or even some fall fruits like a sliced apple, and you have a filling and delicious meal!
1 lb peeled butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (for a vegetarian option, vegetable broth may be substituted)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup of half and half
Crème fraiche or sour cream for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a rimmed baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat pieces evenly. Roast squash for 20-30 minutes until soft but not mushy. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium pot. While the squash is roasting, sweat the chopped onion over a low flame until soft, but not browned. Add roasted squash, sliced apple, nutmeg and 4 cups of chicken broth to the prepared onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until apple is soft. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste. Add 1/2 cup of half and half to soup and simmer on a low flame to re-heat – do not boil! Serve soup in individual bowls with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream or garnish with croutons. Serves 4 – 6.