Life is full, friends. From traveling to Vermont's Northeast Kingdom (a beautiful drive) for my best friend's wedding to taking on some more writing projects at work (another baking story is in the works, and I'm excited about it!), I'm frankly amazed that we've landed here, in early November, already.
I'm actually looking forward to the quiet that comes with these gray November days in Vermont. I'm ready to think about low-key things like putting on my winter tires and bringing out the extra blankets — I require at least two comforters this time of year. And, of course, the month's slow pace lends itself well to lots of time in the kitchen. Last weekend was literally spent entirely in the kitchen! And I have this soup to show for part of it.
Do you remember this from last year? It was one of the year's cooking triumphs, and even though I followed the same recipe this time, it still came out pretty different. Thicker, for one thing, which I liked. Also less sweet, because I used Granny Smith apples and Granny Smith Woodchuck Cider. I'd actually recommend a using the Amber cider instead (or any sweet hard cider), with a sweet and tangy variety of apple, like jazz apples. But I'm still captivated by the balance of sweet and hearty and fragrant that's going on here.
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 apples (a sweet variety is best), peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large butternut squash, cubed
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups sweet hard cider
1 large carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt, pepper, parsley and oregano to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Rub a small amount of olive oil onto the cubed squash, sprinkle with salt, and roast 30-45 minutes in a baking pan, until the squash is soft.
Sauté the onion, apples, celery and carrots with some olive oil in your largest pan until soft. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the roasted squash and garlic; sauté another five minutes or so.
Deglaze the pan with the hard cider; stir. Add the stock and season with parsley and oregano, and more salt and pepper if needed. Simmer 10 minutes.
Purée in a blender in small batches, and return to the pan to reheat. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.