Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage
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About This Recipe

Hello, fellow home chefs, wine aficionados, and California food enthusiasts! Lily here, your friendly Napa Valley local, thrilled to share a heartwarming, comforting recipe perfect for those crisp fall days in our beloved wine country. This Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage is a delightful way to showcase the seasonal flavors of Napa Valley.

Inspired by the bountiful autumn harvests of our local farms, I crafted this recipe using the freshest ingredients found at the Napa Farmers' Market. The sweet butternut squash, tangy apple cider, and fragrant sage meld together beautifully, creating a dish that is both comforting and sophisticated.

To prepare this delightful soup, begin by roasting cubed butternut squash until tender and caramelized. Meanwhile, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, then add the roasted squash, apple cider, vegetable broth, and fresh sage leaves. Let the mixture simmer, allowing the flavors to meld and deepen. Finally, blend the soup until smooth and velvety, adding a splash of cream for richness.

Pair this cozy soup with a rustic, crusty loaf of bread from a local bakery, such as Model Bakery or Bouchon Bakery. For a side dish, consider a simple, yet elegant salad made with mixed greens, sliced apples, and crumbled blue cheese. This farm-to-table pairing highlights the best of Napa's seasonal produce and enhances your soup experience.

For dessert, indulge in a wine-poached pear or a slice of warm, spiced apple cake from one of our quaint valley bakeries, perfectly capturing the essence of fall in Napa Valley.

When it comes to wine pairings, look no further than a buttery, oaky Chardonnay from one of our esteemed wineries, such as Rombauer Vineyards or Cakebread Cellars. The wine's rich, full-bodied nature will complement the soup's creamy texture and earthy, sweet flavors, creating a harmonious dining experience.

As you savor each spoonful of your Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage, let the flavors transport you to the golden hills and lush vineyards of Napa Valley. Breathe in the crisp, autumn air and immerse yourself in the rich history and culinary traditions of our picturesque valley.

Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

The Magic of Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is more than just a fall favorite. This versatile and nutrient-dense vegetable is a staple in many kitchens around the world. Butternut squash's sweet and nutty flavor is unique, and its vibrant orange hue is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports healthy vision and skin. Packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly Vitamin A and Vitamin C, butternut squash is not only delicious but also nutritious. Its creamy texture when cooked also makes it perfect for soups, stews, and purees.

How-to: Perfectly Roasting Butternut Squash

Achieve Caramelized Perfection with Your Squash

  1. Preparation: Start by peeling the butternut squash with a sharp vegetable peeler. Once peeled, slice off the ends, then cut in half vertically. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.
  2. Cube it Right: For even roasting, cut the squash into uniform-sized cubes, ensuring they're not too small to prevent them from becoming mushy.
  3. Seasoning: Drizzle olive oil generously over the cubed squash. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss well to ensure each piece is well-coated.
  4. Spacing: Spread the cubes on a baking sheet, ensuring they aren’t overcrowded. This allows for even roasting and caramelization.
  5. Roasting: Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the edges are slightly caramelized and the squash is fork-tender.

FAQs about Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage

  1. Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth? Yes! Chicken broth can add a deeper flavor profile to the soup. However, to keep it vegetarian, stick with vegetable broth.
  2. Is there a non-dairy substitute for the heavy cream? Absolutely. Coconut milk or almond milk can be used as alternatives. They give a creamy consistency without the dairy.
  3. I don’t have fresh sage. Can I use dried sage? While fresh sage brings a distinct flavor, you can substitute with 1/3 the amount of dried sage. So, instead of 1 tablespoon fresh sage, use 1 teaspoon of dried sage.
  4. How can I store leftover soup? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze the soup for up to 2 months. When reheating, ensure it's heated thoroughly.
  5. Do I need a special blender to puree the soup? While an immersion blender is convenient for pureeing directly in the pot, a regular countertop blender works just as well. Ensure to cool the soup slightly before blending to avoid any accidents.

Tips for Success

Elevate Your Soup Game

  1. Ingredient Freshness: Source the freshest butternut squash. The more recent the harvest, the sweeter and nuttier the flavor.
  2. Seasoning: Always taste your soup before serving. The caramelization of the squash can bring out natural sweetness, so adjust your seasoning to find the right balance.
  3. Serving Suggestion: For an extra touch of sophistication, drizzle a bit of high-quality olive oil or truffle oil on top before serving. It enhances the soup’s depth of flavor and adds a gourmet touch.

Recipe Overview

Recipe:
Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Sage
Author:
Lily Anderson
Season:
Fall
Yield:
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
188
Prep Time:
PT15M
Cook Time:
PT45M
Total Time:
PT60M

Ingredients List

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Toss the cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the minced garlic and chopped fresh sage, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add the roasted butternut squash, vegetable broth, and apple cider to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Use an immersion blender or a countertop blender to puree the soup until smooth. If using a countertop blender, return the soup to the pot after blending.
  6. Stir in the heavy cream if desired, and adjust the salt and pepper seasoning to taste. Serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh sage leaves.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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