Fall's favorite fruit has to be the apple. This week, we'll share five ways to maximize your apple enjoyment. Today's recipe comes from the new cookbook "Mother's Best: Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again" by Lisa Schroeder.
5 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 1/2 lbs. (about 3 large) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
5 1/2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup real maple syrup 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups (1 quart) half and half
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened whipped cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone for garnish (optional)
In a large 8- to 10-quart heavy stockpot, combine the squash, apples, cinnamon stick, ginger and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the squash and apples are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Don't undercook the vegetables or you won't have a silky soup.
Remove the pot from the heat and remove the cinnamon stick. Add the butter, maple syrup, nutmeg, half-and-half and salt and pepper, and puree until smooth with an immersion blender, in batches in a blender or food processor, or with a food mill.
Pass the pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer set over another clean pot, pressing on the vegetable solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
Return the pot to the stove and bring the soup to a boil over medium heat, stirring now and then. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes to meld the flavors. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into bowls and serve topped with a dollop of unsweetened whipped creme, creme fraiche or mascarpone, if desired. Serves 6.