Butternut Squash Soup

I've never met anyone who doesn't like butternut squash soup. It's a crowd-pleaser and so easy to make your own. It's colorful, it can be made ahead, and it's incredibly versatile—try adding coconut milk, finishing with toasted, chopped pecans, and/or cinnamon; serve it hot, serve it cold. And this vegetarian soup can easily be made vegan by omitting the cream.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 3 quarts or 6 servings
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Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

2 Spanish onions, diced  

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped  

2 green apples, unpeeled, cored and diced, plus more finely chopped to garnish 

1 to 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder  

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper  

4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 large squashes), peeled and cubed  

2 cups vegetable stock  

1 cup heavy cream, or coconut, soy or almond milk, alternatively 

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon of the salt and saute, covered, until the onions are translucent and sweaty, achieving no color, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic about halfway through sweating the onions.
  2. Add the apples, curry powder, and cayenne and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to extract the apple flavor and bloom the spices. Season with salt. 
  3. Add the squash and stock, season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes (checking after 15 minutes), or until the squash is fork-tender.  
  4. Add the cream, stir, and cook for 2 minutes more.  
  5. Remove from the heat and let the soup cool until you can safely transfer it to a blender or food processor, working in batches as needed and adding water as needed to achieve the correct consistency. 
  6. Return the pureed soup to the pot to reheat, then serve, or transfer to containers, cool, seal tightly, and store in the fridge or freezer. 

Cook’s Note

The most important step in making soup is taking the time to properly build and layer flavors, so really give the onions and garlic adequate time to cook here. Be careful--hot liquids can expand and explode in the blender or food processor, so be sure to cool the liquid, and don't fill the blender too full! In pro kitchens, everything sweats--not just the chefs, but the vegetables, too! "Sweating" is kitchen speak for cooking vegetables and aromatics in fat over low to medium heat to extract their flavor without achieving color. Be sure to season the vegetables and aromatics first, because the salt draws out the juices you need for sweating to happen.

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