Winter Squash and Apple Soup
Makes 8 cups
This satisfying soup is based on my food-writing mentor Diane Morgan’s Delicata Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons. I’ve adapted to Diane’s recipe to be gluten-free, dairy free, and to make use of the variety of squash and apples in my wintertime pantry.
2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, and diced (see cooks note)
1 medium onion peeled and diced
½ cup coconut milk
2 cups winter squash, cooked (see cooks note)
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon coarsely ground unrefined sea salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
ground black pepper to taste
green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
Gluten-Free French Bread (optional)
Heat a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high. Add the oil or ghee and swirl to coat the pan. Add the diced apples and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown at the edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, cooked squash, and chicken stock. Turn the heat to high. Bring the soup to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim any accumulated film from the top of the soup. Add the salt, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Simmer over medium-low for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Puree with an immersion blender (or regular blender). Add salt and pepper to your own taste. Serve with toasted French bread.
Baking apples like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Caville Blanc are best, although winter storage varieties like Braeburn and Fuji are also suited to this soup.
Winter squash varieties like Delicata, Butternut, Sweet Meat, Kabocha, and Sweet Pumpkin can be used. First halve the squash and remove the seeds.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. put one-inch of water in a baking dish. Place the squash face down in the dish. Bake at 350 degrees F until soft, about 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the variety and individual size of the squash. Add water periodically throughout cooking to maintain one inch in the pan.
To steam squash a 16-20 quart stock pot with steamer basket is convenient, especially for large varieties like Hubbard. For small varieties use a medium sauce pan with steamer basket. Fill the pot with 1-2 inches of water. Cut larger squash into several smaller pieces (4-6 inches square). Cover the pot. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 30 minutes to one hour.
Canned or previously frozen winter squash can also be used.