Butternut squash, apple cider, sage, brown sugar and... Worcestershire sauce? This recipe is chock-full of classic fall flavors but an off-the-cuff dash (or two) of an under-used pantry staple really lets them shine.
Nothing says fall in our house more than a batch of soup on the stove top, bubbling away, emitting smells that prompt neighbors to drop by, noses tinged just the barest of pink.
This recipe puts to use those beautiful butternut squash flooding the market, adding in a bit of local apple cider, brown sugar, nutmeg and a hint of red pepper for spice. But the flavors didn't pop until we reached in the cupboard and splashed in a bit of a decidedly non-autumnal item: Worcestershire sauce. While the addition didn't seem to add its own unique flavor, it bumped up the apple-brown sugar-nutmeg components and made us swoon. We think this vibrantly-colored, flush with the flavors of fall soup is an ideal way to usher in the October chill...and see us through to the Spring thaw.
Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup
4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium squash)
8 to 10 sage leaves; chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot; minced
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 to 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/6 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes; or more to taste
1/6 cup heavy cream
1 large apple; finely diced
Preheat oven to 425 F. Halve each butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Roast 45-1 hour until the squash is tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, then scoop out flesh.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add in shallot and sauté over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in scooped out butternut squash, chicken stock, apple cider, brown sugar, Worcestershire, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.
Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to pot, taste and adjust seasonings. At the last minute, stir in heavy cream and serve garnished with diced apple.
(Images: Rebekah Peppler)