Apple & Butternut Squash Soup

We received our first snowfall of the season in Boston - just in time for the first day of winter . . . and how best to welcome the official start of winter but with soup.

As many of you know, I am a big CSA fan - this is the second winter we've participated in the Shared Harvest CSA, and it hasn't disappointed yet.  The produce is abundant and beautiful, the pickups are seamless, and the communication is excellent.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up!  But back to that abundant produce thing - this past weekend I was faced with 6 big butternut squash - accumulated over time, but clearly I needed to get cracking on those bad-boys.  I've never made butternut squash soup, and when I polled the Semi-Sweet Facebook fans, they voted for me to whip up a batch.  I was lucky enough to have local onions, squash and apples, thanks to Shared Harvest.

This recipe, the second of two of Martha Stewart's I made over the weekend, is delicious.  I'll be honest and let you know that D. wasn't a fan of this soup - but he did admit that "if [he] loved butternut squash, this would be awesome."  So there you have it.  If you or people you love are squash-lovahs (as we say in Boston), then this is a goodie for you!

Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (originally from MarthaStewart.com)

1 T. unsalted butter (or olive oil if you're vegan)
1 medium onion, diced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 red or golden apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 t. Kosher salt
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 1/2 c. water, plus more if needed
Greek yogurt (preferably fat-free or low-fat) for garnish, if desired

Melt butter (or heat oil) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add apples, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, stock, and the water (just enough to cover). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Puree in batches in a food processor or blender, or with an immersion blender (I LOVE my cheapy Braun I got years ago) until smooth, and return to saucepan. Heat over low, thinning with more water if necessary. To serve, ladle into shallow bowls; garnish with Greek yogurt if desired.

Serves 6.

Notes:  The soup can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 3 days - I think this tastes better days 2+ when the flavors have melded.  You can also freeze it, up to a month - so sock some away for "one of those nights" when nothing appeals and you just want something simple and healthy.  An open-faced grilled cheese sandwich and a small salad w/Dijon vinaigrette would be yummy on the side.