Can a recipe get any easier than a pound each of the main ingredients, with a little of this and that added for good measure? In my seemingly endless quest for new things to do with apples, soup kept coming to mind. Largely motivated by what was on hand in my kitchen, I decided to combine carrots and butternut squash, with apples as the subtle spotlight stealer. And of course there were onions, because how can you have soup without onions? Before cooking, I roasted the vegetables and apples at a fairly high temperature to caramelize them and intensify their flavours.
I’d never made soup with apples before, and the experience was a revelation. They add a bright, sweet counterpoint to the richness of the roasted root vegetables. I left them unpeeled, and after pureeing they added a hint of toothsomeness to the texture. The thyme, which is quite prominent, and the sage add earthy herbaceousness and my somewhat lavish use of black pepper brings heat.
I took the photographs for this post on the second day, when the soup tasted even better. It also had thickened up during its overnight sojourn in the refrigerator. I opted to leave it that way instead of thinning it out. There’s nothing like a stick-to-your-spoon soup this time of year.
All in all, this soup is everything you could want in bitterly cold February weather: hearty, thick, full of flavour and oh so warming. We ate it just before heading out to a movie, and when we got home a few hours later I couldn’t believe how amazing the house smelled. Carrot, Squash and Apple Soup is the perfect winter homecoming dish.
DISCLAIMER: The Ontario Apple Growers provided me with a box of Ambrosia apples from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm in Waterloo, to cook with, photograph and post about on my blog. I have received no compensation for this. All opinions are my own and my love for apples is genuine.
I’ll be publishing a series of posts featuring Ambrosia and other apples. All the links will be available here.
Apple, Carrot & Squash Soup
Pre-heat the oven to 425℉. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- 1 pound butternut squash (1 small)
- 1 pound carrots (4 medium to large sized)
- 1 pound onions (3 yellow cooking onions)
- 1 pound Ambrosia apples (2 large)
- 2 whole cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 litre organic vegetable broth
- 6 leaves sage, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup water (plus more if needed)
Trim the vegetables and cut into large chunks. Core the apples but leave them unpeeled and cut each into thick slices.
Toss the squash, carrots, onions, apples and garlic with the oil, pepper and salt in a large bowl, then divide between the two baking sheets. Ensuring no crowding helps promote caramelization during the roasting process. Roast for about 45 minutes, turning over the vegetables and apples after about 25 minutes. When the vegetables are caramelized and soft (but not necessarily tender enough to serve, since they’re going to cook in the soup), transfer them to a Dutch oven.
Pour the broth over the vegetables, add the sage and dried thyme and bring to a boil. Stir well, then simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup as finely as possible. Mine was very thick at this point, so I added a cup of water and pureed again to achieve a more liquid yet still thick and rich texture. The seasoning was robust enough to stand up to the dilution, but you should always taste and adjust seasonings if necessary before serving.
Like many soups and stews, this one tastes even better on the second day.