Hubbard-Apple Soup (PDF)
Recipe 258 of 365
Flecked with sage and spiked with maple syrup and cayenne pepper, this soup is a true harbinger of fall. I used the first Hubbard squash of the season (you can usually buy big chunks pre-cut and seeded) and tangy Gravenstein apples, but any firm winter squash and tart apple will do. Be sure to take the time to puree the soup completely – not just until it’s all one color, but until it achieves the smooth, silky texture that makes soups like these so enjoyable to eat. Also, use good, homemade chicken stock, if you can, to give the soup a little more body.
If you’re looking to fancy it up a bit, serve the soup with a swirl of lightly whipped cream or crème fraiche.
TIME: 30 minutes, plus baking squash
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
4 pounds’ worth Hubbard squash pieces (may be one to three pieces)
Olive oil spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups good chicken stock
2 large tart apples, such as Gravenstein, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 large sage leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish, if desired)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with the oil, add the squash (skin side-down), spray the squash, and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (depending on the size of the squash pieces), or until the squash’s meat and skin are completely soft. (You can do this up to three days ahead, let the squash cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, then the onions, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions begin to soften.
Meanwhile, use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the squash pieces. Chop them into 1” chunks, then add them to the onions, along with the chicken stock, apples, and sage, and a little more salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
Take the soup off the heat, stir in the maple syrup and cayenne pepper, and let cool for about 15 minutes (uncovered). Carefully puree until very smooth in multiple batches in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the heat, season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional syrup or cayenne, if desired, and serve hot.