A few years ago, I looked forward to fall and squash and making soup. But I think I suffered from squash soup overload. The truth is, I haven't touched the stuff in a couple years. So I'm not sure what made me whip together this totally kick-butt soup for lunch, but I'm glad the urge took.
As you can see, I used frozen butternut squash. I took the easy road and I'm okay with that. Sometimes, you need a shortcut and there should be no shame in that.
Instead of using more traditional flavourings like sage or curry, I went for a bold Southwestern take on things. Smokey chipotle powder, Mexican chili powder and the fresh bite of jalepeno pepper play nice with the sweetness found in the apples and squash and make this soup a true winner. There's no need to add in maple syrup or honey because the apples give off so much natural sweetness. But don't be afraid that this is one of those overly-sweet soups, because it's not. This soup has depth - it's sweet, spicy, earthy and smokey all in one awesome spoonful.
I loved this soup so much that went back for seconds and ate it cold (as it had been sitting out on our kitchen counter while I ate my first bowl). And you know what, it was still unbelievably delicious – probably even more so thanks to all that flavour-mingling going on.
Smokey Southwestern Apple and Squash Soup
If you want to keep this soup vegan, use vegetable oil instead of butter and skip the sour cream or use your favorite vegan version.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
2 apples, cored, peeled and diced (I used Granny Smith)
2 cups butternut squash, diced (frozen is fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
1/4 rounded teaspoon chipotle powder
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
a few shots of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons sour cream (low fat is fine)
Melt butter in a medium-large soup pot and add in the onions, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant. Add in the apples, squash, salt, chili powder and chipotle powder. Stir and let everything reduce for a bit and get mushy, 10 minutes should be plenty, stirring occasionally.
Pour in stock making sure that everything is just covered. Put on lid and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes until the squash and apples are very soft. Use a hand blender to puree until everything is very smooth. Taste and add in some hot sauce if you want (I want!). Whisk in the sour cream until smooth. Top each bowl with additional sour cream, if desired. Makes 4 small servings or 2 giant ones.
By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches