There are few things that take the chill off a cold, winter’s day as effectively as a hot bowl of soup. If it’s made with vitamin-rich squash and local apples, so much the better!
I recently visited the Flora restaurant in East Arlington, where chef and owner Bob Sargent shared his version of this cold-weather New England classic: Winter Squash Soup with Apple and Ginger. It’s the kind of recipe that’s almost too good to be true. For a dish that’s relatively easy to make, it’s surprisingly sophisticated and intensely flavored. While many squash soup recipes call for chicken stock or cream, Bob uses apple cider, which adds a wonderful depth of flavor. So the soup may taste creamy and decadent, but it has very little fat. And, as if that weren’t enough, it’s also positively jam-packed with nutrients.
As Bob says, “If you eat this soup and you eat kale, you’ll probably live forever.” Who knew immortality was so deliciously simple?
Winter Squash Soup with Apple and Ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
Generous pinch salt and pepper
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
6 cups winter squash, such as Hubbard, butternut, or acorn, roasted and peeled (you can also substitute sweet potatoes)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 Qt. +/- apple cider
1 cup toasted walnuts, créme fraiche, sour cream, or diced apples for garnish (optional)
1. Heat the oil or butter over medium heat in a 4qt.+ soup pan. Add the onion and celery. Cook until soft, 5 minutes or so.
2. Add the apples and gingers and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir for a minute and then add the cored, sliced apples, the squash and the cider, so it just covers the other ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft. 20 minutes should do.
3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit. You may add a cup or two of ice cubes at this point to cool it down as well as the rest of the cider.
4. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. A food processor makes too much of a mess. Reheat and top with chopped nuts, sliced apples, créme fraiche, or sour cream.