The trouble with the butternut squash soup I make again and again every winter is that it takes so much time: 45 minutes to roast the squash, 30 minutes to simmer it with the stock, and 15 minutes here and there for prepping. Although much of the time is hands off, I never feel I can whip it up on a weeknight.
So when I saw this recipe for butternut squash soup with cider and sour cream, which apparently could be “made in a flash,” a few things caught my eye: In step 1, onion and garlic simmer in a small amount of water — not butter or oil — for about five minutes. In step 2, the squash cubes steam in stock for 20 minutes. In step 3, the soup is puréed with apple cider and sour cream, and then it’s done.
I followed the recipe to a T and was pleased to discover that a completely flavorful soup had materialized in 30 minutes start to finish. As the onions and garlic cooked down in the water, I was able to peel, seed and cube the squash. And the puréed soup needed nothing more than a pinch of salt and a splash of stock before it was ready for serving.
I’ve made this soup, which is at once light and comforting, three times in a week, and the past few evenings, I’ve been serving it with flatbread topped with olive oil, sea salt, and minced sage and rosemary, two of butternut squash’s best pals. With Lahey dough stored in the fridge, this meal comes together in a flash and couldn’t taste more like fall, the fragrant herbs so nicely complementing the squash and the subtle sweetness of the apple, the tangy sour cream balancing it all out.
A few notes:
If you’ve found yourself with a bounty of butternut squash, here’s the latest post over on Food52: What to Do with an Overload of Butternut Squash. Also, the previous post: What to do with and Overload of Cauliflower.
This soup begins with simmering minced onions or shallots and garlic in water…
…until they are soft and the liquid has nearly evaporated:
Eight cups of cubed butternut squash…
…steam for 20 minutes in a cup of chicken stock:
After the soup is partially puréed, apple cider and sour cream enter the pot:
Sometimes I have to add a bit more stock at the end to thin it out, but most of the time, it purées into a silky smooth consistency that needs little doctoring:
Last week a friend dropped off the most fragrant rosemary and sage from her garden. We have been sprinkling it over flatbreads for the past three days:
Another great use for these quart storage containers: Lahey pizza dough. A quart container might feel unnecessarily large for one round of dough, but I’ve had lids of pint containers pushed off by expanding dough after a day or two in the fridge.
Olive oil, sage, rosemary, sea salt:
Five minutes on the Baking Steel:
A few more soups:
Parsnip and Pear • White Bean, Escarole & Sausage • Cauliflower and Apple • No-Stock French Onion • Roasted Tomato and Bread • Paul Steindler’s Cabbage • Lentil • Vermont Cheddar Cheese • Rosemary-Butternut Bisque.
For the flatbread, follow the instructions on this post for preparing the dough. Before baking, drizzle dough lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with finely chopped rosemary and sage and a pinch of nice sea salt, bake 5 to 6 minutes, on the Baking Steel.
Butternut Squash & Cider Soup
Yield 6 to 8
Adapted from Food52 and The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I have made a double quantity here and have made a few minor adjustments: onion for shallot, no garnish, a bit more chicken stock...that's about it.
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 8 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade, plus more for thinning out as needed
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Cracked black pepper
- Bread for serving
- Heat a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until the shallot and garlic are softened, being careful not to let them burn, 5 to 7 minutes — the water will be nearly evaporated.
- Add the squash and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, purée until roughly smooth. (Alternatively, carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Holding the top down with a towel, blend until smooth.) Add the cider, 1/2 cup of the sour cream, and salt. Continue blending until well combined. Taste, add more salt if necessary. (I often add another teaspoon of kosher salt.) Add more sour cream if desired (I always do.). Thin out with more stock — you may need as much as another cup of stock. Taste, adjust seasoning again as necessary. Serve immediately with good bread.