Creamy and comforting, this honey roasted apple and butternut squash soup combines the gentle sweetness of roasted butternut squash with a surprising kick of warming chilli flakes.
I know, I know…
I have absolutely no business posting a recipe using butternut squash and apples at this time of year.
I’m well aware that I’m not playing fair. My blatant disregard for the proper and timely usage of seasonal fruits and vegetables is pretty evident from a quick scan of the ingredient list.
What can I say, I’m not perfect…
Strictly speaking this is a recipe to be savoured when cool, crisp autumnal mornings greet you day after day. Maybe even a recipe for when those crisp mornings transform into wintery days full of ground frosts and snow flurries and icy winds that redden your nose when you dare to venture outside.
Okay, I admit it, I’m pining…
You see, I can confidently state, hand on heart, that I am a cold weather kinda girl. Proper cold weather – with snow and frost and ice and brightly burning log fires to warm my toes in front of – that’s the stuff of my dreams.
Lately though, dreaming is all I’ve been able to do. Over the last few years, winters here have been, how can I say it?
Proper cold weather has been kind of lacking around these parts. With hardly any sign of frost, even on the odd occasion when a few flakes of snow have fallen, by the next day they are simply a distant memory.
This last year as autumn sidled quietly into winter which then drifted gently into spring (whatever happened to four seasons in a year???) my winter coat has hung forlornly on its hanger, barely reached for.
I’m sure a lot of people are shaking their head while reading this, shouting at me about how lucky I am. I know many people will simply be glad to have gotten through another tough winter, and are looking forward to a summer full of barbeques and swimming and frozen margaritas. But, I can’t be the only person in the world who prefers winter over summer, can I?
…Cue the deafening silence over the internet…
Okay, so maybe I am, but that’s okay – I made my peace a long time ago with my backwards alternative way of thinking!
Although the relatively mild weather these last few months has been a blessing for the heating bill, it’s left me feeling cheated of the chance to fully indulge my love of cozy, filling comfort food.
When getting dressed in the morning involves wrapping up in layer upon layer of warm sweaters (and extra pairs of socks), there is nothing more comforting than spending the evening wrapped up in a blanket, cradling a warming bowl of thick creamy soup.
With autumn and winter seeming so far away right now, and no guarantee of them even behaving in a proper manner, I started craving something comforting (yet not too heavy) to keep me going through the long days of summer (the large butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter for weeks may also have had something to do with it!)
Butternut squash (and for that matter, apples) are not technically in season right now – they are after all called a winter squash (although that doesn’t stop my local supermarket stocking them practically year round). Although I think that eating seasonally makes a lot of sense both nutritionally and environmentally, it can be kind of hard to do on a practical level, especially if, like me, you are reliant on the choices offered by the supermarkets.
As with everything in life, I feel it’s a balancing act. The way I look at it, I try to keep an eye on where my produce comes from and choose wisely whenever I can. But to me, it’s also important to focus on eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis – as long as I do both those things, I consider it a win.
As it turns out, when I decided to make a batch of this apple and butternut squash soup, I used up the huge squash waiting patiently on my kitchen counter. I then promptly made a second batch after raiding my secret freezer stash of butternut squash puree I’d prepared earlier this year for just such emergencies.
I’ve now got more than enough portions of soup to last me until my next winter comfort craving hits!
I can’t take full credit for this recipe, but I’m also at a loss to credit the righful owner as I simply don’t know who they are. A long time ago, I read a vague description of this soup in an anonymous testimonial. The writer mentioned roasting butternut squash and apples with honey and chilli and for some reason the image stuck with me.
Although that was all I remembered, the idea spent many years lodged in the back of my brain, before I got round to experimenting with the concept. I can’t say who first came up with this idea, but what I can say is that it’s a gorgeous, incredibly easy, tasty recipe.
To make this soup, first you need to roast your apples and butternut squash. As it’s so tough, butternut squash can be a bit of a pain to prepare (for a good explanation of how to do so see here) using pre-prepared would definitely speed things up and would work just as well.
All the flavour for this soup comes from roasting both the squash and apples with a drizzle of honey and a light dusting of chilli flakes. Coating everything in honey creates lots of lovely caramelised juices as everything roasts down – don’t forget to scrape these off the tray and add them to the soup – and the chilli flakes give a lovely warming kick of heat. The chilli amount stated in the recipe seems tiny, but trust your own heat preference when adding, my jar of crushed chilli flakes is so ridiculously hot even a tiny sprinkling was enough to have us reaching for glasses of ice-cold water!
The texture of the butternut squash means it will blend into a velvety smooth, creamy soup all on it’s own. However, if you do feel you want some extra creaminess you can simply swap some of the stock for milk (or even single cream for a decadent treat!)
Note: If you do want to do this, just be aware that if you are planning on freezing the soup, adding milk or cream to a soup tends to make it separate and become grainy when you re-heat it. To avoid this problem simply freeze the soup without the milk in it (it will be extra thick) and then add it in when gently re-heating. An added bonus when doing this? The soup takes up a lot less space in the freezer!
To finish, I’ve roasted the squash seeds with some smoked paprika (I can’t bear the thought of wasting any food and they roast wonderfully!) and added them with a swirl of yogurt and some crumbled feta cheese for a garnish.
The crunch of the smoky seeds. The saltiness of the cheese. The creamy sweetness of the soup. The kick of the chilli. Add a good chunk of granary bread and some salted butter and you’ve got yourself some warm winter comfort in a bowl!
After an unseasonably warm early April I was in need of some comfort. Since making two batches of this honey roasted apple and butternut squash soup we have been enjoying what the forecasters are terming an arctic blast over most of the U.K.
I don’t think so…
Okay enough talk about the weather, anyone would think I’m British…
Lovers of cold and snow and warming bowls of soup unite!
Or possibly bookmark this recipe for next autumn…
- 1 large butternut squash (about 1.25kg)
- 2 large apples*
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon oil
- ⅛th teaspoon crushed chilli flakes**
- 4 - 5 cups (960ml - 1.2l) hot vegetable stock/broth
- Smoked paprika
- ½ cup (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
- Sour cream / yogurt / light cream to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (375F degrees).
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (things are about to get sticky here and I hate washing up!)
- Peel, de-seed and cut the butternut squash into large chunks (reserve the seeds for garnish) and place on the baking sheet. Peel and core the apples, cut into large chunks and add to the tray.
- Drizzle two tablespoons of the oil over the squash and apple chunks and toss to coat everything thoroughly. Repeat with the honey, then sprinkle with the crushed chilli flakes.
- Roast in the oven until golden, tender and softened (mine took 45 minutes).
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the seeds for the garnish. In a sieve, rinse the seeds under cold water and remove any squash strings still attached. Drain well, toss with the remaining teaspoon of oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and roast in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes before setting aside.
- Spoon the cooked squash and apple into a large saucepan (make sure you scrape all the sticky, caramelised bits in too, they add so much flavour!) add the vegetable stock and blitz with a stick (immersion) blender until smooth. You can also use a jug blender to make it silky smooth - just make sure to heed your blender's instructions regarding the temperature and volume it can cope with, you may need to let it cool a little and work in batches!
- Return to the saucepan, re-heat gently and check the seasoning.
- Serve in bowls, swirled with a little cream if liked, along with the crumbled feta and a sprinkling of the roasted squash seeds.
**Adjust to taste, my jar of crushed chilli flakes is ridiculously hot - even after removing the seeds, such a tiny amount was more than enough!