Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Last weekend gave us a perfect peek into Fall, and I couldn't have been happier. I had a stellar long run in the crisp weather (my next half marathon is next Saturday already!), and enjoyed feeling comfortable in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. The weather, plus the onslaught of football season means it's just about time for soup Sundays! Inspired by autumn (and, you know, the buckets of butternut squash coming from our garden), I got started early with two of the season's favorite flavors: butternut squash and apple.

As I mentioned above, we're definitely not lacking in the butternut squash department. We've got squash of all sizes stretching throughout the garden, and need to start getting creative with the way we use them.

So I gathered an extra large squash and a smaller squash to put to use! Paired with tart Granny Smith apples, this soup is pretty much the embodiment of fall flavor. Comforting, thick and, yes, actually fairly healthy, this soup is going get a lot of playing time this season.

It's also fairly easy to make. The worst part is the prep work, actually peeling and chopping the squash, apples and onion. But once combined in a simmering pot with sweet-smelling spices, it's easy to forget how tedious all that prep work was...

If you're lucky enough to have an immersion blender like me, I definitely recommend using it for this soup. This was my first time using an immersion blender and after one use I'm pretty sure it's going to give my new food processor a run for its money in the "Kitchen BBF" competition currently underway in my sorry "I should probably get real human friends" life.
Just like my food processor, my mom scored this KitchenAid immersion blender for a steal at a summer blowout sale at the KitchenAid Experience store in my hometown a couple months ago. Not only does it come with the blender attachment, but also a whisk attachment, a food chopper attachment and a measuring cup/container that you can blend smoothies or single-serving soups or whatever in. It also comes with a handy little three-pocket canvas bag to keep all the attachments in. Pretty cool, you guys, pretty cool....

Also, I swear I am not being compensated by KitchenAid at all. I just like their products and am lucky to have family in a town that has a pretty awesome standalone Kitchenaid store, one that hosts fantastic sales from time to time. KitchenAid does not know I exist. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want a doofy amateur like me hawking their products for compensation, anyway. 

ANYWAY, back to the soup....

This soup just may be my new favorite fall meal (well, maybe juuuuuussstt behind pumpkin mac 'n cheese). It's perfect on a chilly day with a side of warm, crusty bread. You will want to sop up the soup with the bread. Follow that instinct. You won't regret it.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
(adapted from Ina Garten)

Makes about 3 quarts (6-8 servings).

One and a half large yellow onions, diced
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 medium-size butternut squashes (or a large and a small, which is what I had on hand), peeled and chopped
3 tart apples, like Granny Smith, peeled and chopped
2 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
2 cups apple juice or cider

Heat the butter, olive oil and onions in a large stock pot on the stove on low until the onions become soft and translucent (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the water, squash, apples and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add cinnamon, nutmeg a clove, then cover and simmer on low for about 45-50 minutes, until apples and squash are soft.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or puree or blend in stand mixer or food processor until smooth. Add apple juice or cider until the soup has thinned to the consistency you prefer. It should be fairly thick!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is best served on a chilly day, while wearing boots, jeans a comfy sweatshirt. Preferably just after having gone on a drive through the country to see all the colorful fall foliage. 

What's your favorite fall soup? Are you a squash fiend like me? 

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