Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, sage, and 2 teaspoons salt and season with pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add squash and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until butter begins to brown and squash is tender, about 12 minutes. Add cider and water or broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove sage sprigs and set aside to cool slightly.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the sage leaves, in two batches, and cook until bright green, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-line plate. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
Puree soup in a blender, (work in batches if needed) or with an immersion blender. Return soup to pot and reheat over medium heat. Stir in vinegar. and transfer soup to warmed soup bowls. Serve in warmed soup bowls as is or garnished with creme fraiche or sage leaves. Serve with breadsticks.
This recipe has been updated and may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.
Copyright 2009 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved
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