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A fun fall soup. Roasting of the vegetables and fruits to me just really makes this the best. A drizzle of maple syrup, chopped candied walnuts, cranberries, and a dollop of creme fraiche finishes this over the top. What a wonderful Holiday soup, but also just a good comfort soup. I make this often with grilled cheese. Smoked gouda, multi grain bread and maple smoked bacon make for an amazing sandwich. I often make a bunch of these walnuts for the garnish and store them in the freezer in a baggie to use throughout the Holiday season. They are really easy and don't take any time.
- 4 lbs butternut squash (peeled, seeded and rough chopped)
- 4 granny smith apples (peeled and diced)
- 2 firm pears, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 4 slices bacon (diced and sauteed)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 3⁄4 cup apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped fine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3⁄4 cup whole walnuts (candied and chopped)
- 1⁄8 cup sugar
- 1⁄3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- maple syrup
- creme fraiche (sour cream will work)
- Walnuts -- In a dry saute pan, use non-stick if possible and heat up the walnuts on medium high heat until they get slightly toasted. They don't take long. Just 2-3 minutes. Then add in the sugar and stir well. The sugar will begin to melt in seconds. Keep stirring until they are all well combined and coated in the sugar mixture. Remove to a cookie sheet or baking sheet lined with parchment paper or you can use wax paper and lay them out separating them so they can cool. Thats it. They will cool in just minutes and then transfer to a baggie and freeze for later or just refrigerate if you are going to be using them soon.
- Roasting -- Add to a large bowl the squash, apples, pears and onion. Drizzle with the olive oil and mix well. Transfer to a large baking sheet and spread out. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes or less until all the vegetables and fruits are soft. Remove and just let cool while you cook your bacon and celery.
- Soup Base -- In a large soup pot, add the bacon and just a little oil, maybe 1/2 teaspoon to get it started and cook until crispy. Then to the same pot, add the celery and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add in the apple cider, chicken broth, bay leaf, allspice, sage and all the vegetables and cook 15 minutes until all the flavors combine.
- Puree -- Now, I use my immersion blender right in the pot and blend until smooth, but you can also use a regular blender. Add a little at a time until it is all smooth and pureed. Return to the pot and add the cream and check for seasoning. Heat another couple of minutes and it is done.
- Garnish -- Remember those walnuts? Well just chop those and some dried cranberries and mix them together for great topping.
- Serving -- A big bowl of soup -- drizzle with a little maple syrup, top with a spoon of the cranberry walnut mixture and a little dollop of the creme fraiche.