What a crazy week of weather it has been here! Monday, it was 84F, by late Monday afternoon it dropped to 59F. It warmed to 80 again on Thursday, cold and rainy on Friday and tonight we have a frost warning. This is a soup weekend if there ever was one!
Last week, a fellow blogger, Bonnie, at From a Writer's Kitchen, wrote about a butternut squash soup made with apple that she found in the Chicago Tribute. You can click on the link above and see the recipe Bonnie made. It sounds wonderful and I love butternut squash. Bonnie mentioned how flavorful the soup was with the hint of apple.
Then, a couple of days later, I happened to pick up the cookbook that I had won in a giveaway from Sam at My Carolina Kitchen, called Savoring the Hamptons, where I found a recipe for Butternut Squash, Apple and Leek Soup. I've made a couple of recipes from the book when we entertained this past summer but when I'm entertaining I rarely have time to take pictures. So finally, Sam, I was able to make AND photograph a wonderful recipe from this cookbook! It was delicious and my husband loved it too. Thank you so much for this wonderful cookbook, Sam! I have many more recipes bookmarked to try.
The addition of the apple, leeks, onion, sage, a splash of freshly squeezed orange juice, along with parsley and sage really made this a top-notch recipe. The recipe also mentions the optional garnish of plain croutons but I had to bring those up a notch also so I baked mine with a generous sprinkle of black pepper, garlic salt and some chopped fresh herbs. They were perfect with the soup.
Thank you again, Bonnie, for the idea, and to you, Sam, for the cookbook.
Those of you who have seen the movie, The Hunger Games - Catching Fire, may recognize the opulent facade of the home with it's five-tiered waterfall in the center of the staircase. This is what guests saw upon entering the driveway. The photo at the bottom of the above collage is the rear of the home where carriages or cars would pull around to enter the home.
Above, you see the beautiful foyer and staircase, the dining, room, library and sitting room. Another very highly recommended stop if you are ever in the Atlanta area. It doesn't cost anything to do your own self-guided tour of the home where you can walk around freely and enjoy all of the rooms with original furnishings. To enter the museum on the property you do need to pay admission. All of the above photos (except for the one from the movie) I took on our visit. Below is a wonderful video if you would like to see a little more and learn about the owners and history of the home which is now owned by the Atlanta Historic Center. It will also show you a glimpse into the kitchen, which I thought was very interesting too. Be sure to click on the "Full Screen" icon on the bottom right. Update: I have noticed that the YouTube video does not show up on some mobile devices. Here is the link if you are interested in viewing it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIB9r8gvT7s
Butternut Squash, Apple, and Leek SoupAdapted from Savoring The Hamptons
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 butternut squash 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
1 tart apple
6 cups chicken stock (low sodium if using store bought)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (plus a little more for croutons)
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves (plus a little more for croutons)
Black pepper, Garlic and Herb croutons (recipe follows)
Peel, seed and cut butternut squash into 1-inch pieces using a large chef's knife. Trim, wash and thinly slice leeks and onion. Peel, core and coarsely chop apple.
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the butternut squash, leeks, onion and apple and saute for a minute or two. Then, place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper over the vegetables and cover the pan. "Sweat" the vegetables for about 7 minutes. Remove and discard the paper.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the orange juice and cook the soup over low to medium heat at a steady simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
Puree the soup in the pan with an immersion blender, or, puree in several batches in a regular blender.
The soup can be prepared ahead up to this point and refrigerated, covered, until ready to serve. Bring back to a simmer, add the chopped parsley and sage and serve with croutons, if desired.
Black pepper, Garlic and Herb Croutons
Preheat oven to 350F.
Choose a good loaf of French bread, sliced. Prepare 1-2 slices for each person. Brush each side of bread with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley or sage, if desired. Cut each slice of bread in 1" x 1" pieces (you do not need to remove crust) and scatter in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for about 7-8 minutes until golden. Watch carefully toward the end so they do not burn.