I’ve known for a couple of days that we were having a butternut squash and apple soup tonight.  I had the squash, I had the apples…  It was just a matter of putting it together.

Soups are the easiest thing in the world to create – and I do mean create.  In our house, soups are generally of the clean-out-the-refrigerator variety.  Literally anything can go into the pot.  All of those odd little tupperware containers of that little bite of whatever?  Into the pot.  Fresh vegetables that have seen better days?  Into the pot.  A bit of chicken and a bit of pork tenderloin?  Cut them both up and into the pot.

It’s a great system.

Every now and again, however, I’ll look for a specific flavor profile and and be a bit more circumspect in my ingredients.  A Mulligatawny Soup needs fairly specific ingredients.  A butternut squash soup can go in many directions, but the ingredients have to be true to the direction you take…

My original thought was butternut squash, apples, and sage.  It’s a fairly classic combination and perfect for the season.  But as I started cooking, I knew I wanted something else.

I kept thinking of my Uncle Dick’s Jalapeño Pumpkin Soup.  Unkie Dickie was a great guy – married to my father’s baby sister.  We shared Giant’s season tickets with them at Pac Bell Park.  He was just one of the really good guys.

I love that soup but it wasn’t quite where I wanted to go.  I was leaning southwest, but didn’t want cumin.  I decided to start with a couple cans of diced green chilis and build from there.

That definitely put me in the right direction.  I next needed a bit of heat.  I first thought of cayenne pepper but ended up with my spicy-standby – Sambal Oelek.  Granted, an Asian chili paste is not exactly southwestern, but it’s my recipe – I can do anything I want.

While I thought the finished product was pretty good, Victor declared that it was one of the best soups I’ve ever created.

I thought that was pretty good!

I also baked a loaf of bread but we both filled up on soup and barely ate a slice each.

The soup can easily be made vegan.  Just switch the chicken stock for vegetable stock and don’t add the sour cream topping.  I added a can of pumpkin because my squash was small and I kept adding to the pot.  If you use a larger squash you don’t need it.  I probably didn’t really need it, either, but it was in the cupboard…

Spicy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 5 small mcintosh apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 2 cans diced green chilis
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • Salt and Pepper

Saute onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a bit of olive oil until aromatic and the vegetables are limp.  Add the squash, apples, and broth and simmer for about 30 minutes or until everything is temder.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency.   I prefer a few chunks.  At this point you can decide whether to add a can of pumpkin, or not.

Add the diced green chilis, cannellini beans, and sambal oelec – or cayenne – to taste.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Yeah…  this was a good one – and there’s plenty left for lunch tomorrow.

The bread was a variation of the Pane Pugliese…

This one lasts for a couple of days and makes great paninis!

 

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