I love soup in the fall, and this one is perfect for this time of year. It’s creamy, flavorful, and satisfying and it includes a classic fall vegetable, the beautiful butternut squash.
adapted from The Healthy Hedonist
1 butternut squash, around 2 ½ lbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 shallot, chopped
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into rounds
½ cup apple cider, or apple juice
5 cups water
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sliced shallots
10-12 fresh sage leaves
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut the squash in half and place the halves, cut side down, on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Remove the seeds with a large spoon and discard them. Scoop the flesh into a bowl. You should have about 3 cups.
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic cloves, chopped shallots, and cumin and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, apple cider, water, and 1 tsp salt. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are softened. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or blend in two parts in a standing blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add a sprinkling of black pepper. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. At this point I like to add a dash of cayenne pepper and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
For the garnish: Warm the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until they are browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper town. Immediately add the sage leaves and cook them for about 5 seconds, just until they are withered and crisp but still bright green. Transfer the sage to the paper towel. You can crumble the sage leaves or leave them whole.
Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with sage, and with a mound of crispy shallots in the middle.
You can store the crispy shallots and sage, covered in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 1 week.