For a puréed squash soup, you’ll want a winter squash that isn’t very stringy, which rules out acorn squash and spaghetti squash. Butternut, ‘Red Kuri,’ and ‘Baby Blue Hubbard’ squashes are my favorite for this. But because growing conditions and specific cultivars play a role in a squash’s flavor, you’ll want to sweeten this soup to taste. Soy sauce adds an umami quality that enhances the flavor even more than salt alone.
• 1 medium winter squash (about 3 pounds), such as butternut, ‘Red Kuri,’ or ‘Baby Blue Hubbard’
• 1 onion, cut into wedges
• 4 ounces bacon, diced
• 2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup apple cider
• 1⁄4 cup maple syrup, or to taste
• 1 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds and fiber. Place cut side down in a baking pan.
3. Add the onion and pour in 1 inch of water.
4. Roast until the squash is completely tender, about 1 hour.
5. Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat in a large, heavy saucepan until the bacon has given up its fat and is crisp.
6. Transfer the bacon to paper towels or rags to drain, leaving the grease in the pan.
7. Add the apples to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes.
8. Scrape the winter squash flesh from the skin.
9. Process the squash flesh and onion in a food processor until smooth, adding a little of the chicken broth if needed.
10. Add to the apples in the saucepan, along with the remaining broth, apple cider, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Cook over medium heat until your winter squash soup is heated through and the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes, adding more maple syrup or soy sauce if needed.
Try these other soups with vegetables and read about homemade chicken broth:
Andrea Chesman cooks, writes, and teaches in Vermont, where she lives on a 1-acre homestead. Find her books Recipes from the Root Cellar and The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How.