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Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar
© Con Poulos

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar

  • ACTIVE: 35 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 25 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • MAKE-AHEAD

"Butternut squash and apples come into season around the same time in Vermont," Jeremy Silansky says, "and they go so well together." But this soup's key ingredient is its smoked-cheddar garnish. Silansky gets his cheese from Grafton Village Cheese Company, a local producer with national distribution that cold-smokes aged cheddar over a maple-wood fire.

  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  3. 3/4 cup apple cider
  4. One 1 3/4-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (5 1/4 cups)
  5. 4 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  9. 1 McIntosh apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  10. 1/3 cup coarsely shredded smoked cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  11. One-inch pieces of chives or thinly sliced sage leaves, for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  3. Heat a medium skillet. Add the butter and diced apple and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls; garnish with the smoked cheddar, sautéed apples and chives; serve.
Make Ahead The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat before garnishing with the cheddar, apples and chives.

Suggested Pairing

There's no better pairing for this appley soup than a sweet and tangy artisanal cider from one of Vermont's producers, which have been restoring New England's centuries-old cider-making traditions. Look for the pale gold, lightly sweet Original Sin or the fruitier, richer Woodchuck Amber Draft. Alternatively, pour a firm white from California's Mendocino County.

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