This is a soup recipe which I saw in a Christmas magazine recently and have adapted to intensify the flavours. It is a thick soup which makes it suitable for winter and the spices make it feel very seasonal. This would be a nice soup as a starter at Christmas dinner and the apple chips are so versatile that they can be used in savoury or sweet dishes.
FESTIVE BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP
5 braeburn apples, 3 chopped and 2 thinly sliced to make the apple chips
Large pinch of salt
3 large onions, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only, plus a little extra for decor
700ml vegetable stock
250ml apple cider or apple juice
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp creme fraiche
For the apple chips:
- Preheat the oven to 110 degrees celsius.
- Take two apples and slice very thinly. This is easier using a mandolin but you can use a knife if you don’t have a mandolin. Just be prepared to have a little extra wastage as knives have a tendency to prefer making half moon slices! It certainly does take a little extra skill.
- Coat the apple slices in the juice of one lemon and the salt. Leave for 10 minuets and then pat dry with a piece of kitchen roll.
- Lay the apple slices on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Bake for 1 hour until golden, crisp and curled up at the edges.
For the soup:
- Melt the butter in a pot. Add the onions and allow to cook with the lid on until soft.
- Mix the butternut squash and apple pieces with the ginger, nutmeg and thyme. Then add to the pot and cook for 3 – 4 minutes. Stir every so often to make sure that all of the pieces of squash and apple are exposed to the heat.
- Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes until the butternut squash is soft.
- Allow to cool a little and then blitz using a blender or in a food processor.
- Add the white pepper, remaining lemon juice and apple cider or juice.
- Spoon the soup into warm bowls.
- Add a dollop of creme fraiche. To give this a chef-y vibe, drag the end of the spoon through the creme fraiche to create a neat curved line.
- Top with some apple chips and then sprinkle with a few thyme leaves.
A definite winter warmer.