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Autumn Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Pureed roasted butternut squash, apples, onions and herbs come together in this luscious soup that gets topped with creamy goat cheese crumbles, toasted pumpkin seeds, crispy pancetta and rich balsamic glaze.

All girls love fall. It’s a fact. The apple picking, the cozy sweaters, playing with the corpses of dead leaves…there’s just something in our DNA that makes us go crazy for fall. I don’t know about you, but now that we are in the middle of fall, I just want to cook and bake even more than I usually do. I’ll just be playing on the floor with my daughter and suddenly get an odd twinge in my left big toe that tells me it’s time to go into the kitchen and whip up something that tastes like fall.

One of my favorite comedians is Iliza Schlesinger. I love her because her comedy is just so incredibly smart and relatable. Every joke and story she tells is something you’ve done, seen or thought of doing. She just speaks the truth (in many voices) when it comes to being a woman and really just being a human in general. Plus, her dog Blanche is the most merciful little lamb you’ll ever see.

I’ve seen her perform live four times and watched her Netflix specials more times than I care to admit—to the point that my friends and I quote her often in our daily lives. One of my all-time favorite bits of hers is from her second Netflix special—Freezing Hot. It’s about how all girls love fall to the point that we start planning for fall in July and when fall finally arrives we go out of our way to find any excuse to eat PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!!!

I’ve been planning this fall since July… of, like… of, like, two years ago. We f****** get into fall. You don’t even have to tell girls when it’s fall. We know. Oh, we sense it. We get into it. The second it turns fall, the second a leaf falls somewhere in, like, Connecticut, we feel it. Sit at home, watching TV. Outside the temperature drops from, like, 86 to 63. We pop out of the ground like gophers. We sense that fall is here. Watching TV, fall comes, we’re just like… – “Did you feel that?” – “It was a breeze.” “- F*** yeah! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves… – pumpkin everything!

– Iliza Schlesinger | Freezing Hot

Needless to say, that’s how this recipe was born. The temperature dropped, the leaves fell and I had the sudden urge to create a soup that combined all of fall’s best flavors and would hopefully earn me my official “girl card”, as Iliza would say.

All girls love fall. I don’t know if you know that. All girls are required to love fall. Yeah. Required. That’s right. When we applied to be girls…we went to the girl counter and were asked, “What’s your favorite season?” And you go, “It’s fall, motherf*****.” And they’re like, “All right. Here’s your girl card, your Uggs, your glitter. Go have fun. Be insecure.”

– Iliza Schlesinger | Freezing Hot

This soup has it all; sweet apples, salty pancetta and tangy goat cheese surrounded by a luscious puree of pumpkin, butternut squash, ginger, nutmeg and herbs. You can pack away your obsessive collection of fall-scented Bath and Body Works candles while you make this soup because it will fill your house with the scent of fall as it bubbles away on your stove top.

It all starts by roasting the butternut squash in the oven with a bit of thyme and olive oil while you begin to sauté the apples, onions, garlic and fresh sage on the stovetop. As it starts to come together pumpkin puree, spices, and chicken broth gets added along with heavy cream before it all gets pureed together until smooth and velvety. The real magic happens at the end however when each bowl is topped with crispy pancetta, roasted pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and the smallest droplets of balsamic reduction. Delicious!!! 

Now, I know it’s already after Thanksgiving and a lot of you have already moved on and are ready for Christmas, but hold onto your pumpkin spice lattes with your grubby little (party) goblin claws for a little longer so you can try this soup. 

What about you? Do you love fall? Have you watched Iliza’s comedy before? Let me know below in the comments. Also, if you do try out this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@frydaeblog or #frydae). I love to see what you guys are whipping up in your kitchens and hearing your thoughts.

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Pancetta & Goat Cheese

Pureed roasted butternut squash, apples, onions and herbs come together in this luscious soup that gets topped with creamy goat cheese crumbles, toasted pumpkin seeds, crispy pancetta and rich balsamic glaze.

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces butternut squash (cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups apples (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 small white onion (diced)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 ounces pancetta or diced bacon
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
  • 2 teaspoons Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, prepare the butternut squash by cutting in half and removing the seeds. Next, cut into slices and trim away the skin before dicing into 1-inch cubes (or just use fresh pre-cut squash).

    Place squash onto a large roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with dried thyme. Place into preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until squash is tender and edges have started turning golden. Remove from oven, set aside.

    Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta (or diced bacon) until crispy. Remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

    Next, in a large stockpot over medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and begin to saute diced onion and garlic. Cook 4-5 minutes, or until onions have become translucent and garlic is fragrant.

    Now, add the diced apples, fresh sage, nutmeg and ginger. Cook until apples have softened and onions have begun to caramelize—about 5 minutes.

    Then, add 1 can of pumpkin, maple syrup, and roasted butternut squash. stir until combined and then add 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

    After 20 minutes, remove soup from heat and using an immersion blender puree until soup is smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also carefully transfer the soup, using a ladle, into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

    Once soup is pureed, return to low heat and stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Let simmer for a few more minutes and then spoon into bowls.

    Garnish each bowl of soup with cooked pancetta, goat cheese crumbles, roasted pumpkin seeds, and a few small drops (3-4) of Trader Joe's balsamic glaze.

    Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy.

Hazelnut Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing with Apples and Sweet Potato

Hazelnut Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing with Apples and Sweet Potato

This savory stuffing will redefine what you think about Thanksgiving stuffing. Made with tri-colored quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, roasted hazelnuts and fresh cranberries this side dish will become a new family favorite for the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving (almost)! You might be surprised to learn that I didn’t grow up having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all of the fixings. Since we lived away from most of our immediate family and rarely traveled for the holidays it was usually just four of us for Thanksgiving dinner and so my mom didn’t really see the point in making a big turkey, four kinds of potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and everything else that goes along with it. We would roast a chicken once in a while but our family would actually eat lasagna more often than not on Thanksgiving.

Most people I tell this to consider it sacrilegious but I just tell them that we really don’t know what the pilgrims ate on the first Thanksgiving…it could have been lasagna…or tacos…or popcorn and toast like they ate on the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. We just don’t know. It will forever be a mystery!

*Update* It’s apparently not a mystery. According to smithsonianmag.com, “if one were to create a historically accurate feast, consisting of only those foods that historians are certain were served at the so-called “first Thanksgiving,” there would be slimmer pickings. “Wildfowl was there. Corn, in grain form for bread or for porridge, was there. Venison was there…these are absolutes.”

So, I’m wrong, there were likely wild turkeys of some sort at the first Thanksgiving but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is this stuffing I’m sharing with you today. I think it is safe to say that this particular recipe was not at the first Thanksgiving. Hopefully, after reading this recipe though, it will be at your next Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving in the future for years to come!

This stuffing recipe is one that I’ve been working on for a few years. Since I really only make stuffing once a year for Thanksgiving, I don’t experiment much with it other times of the year. For about the last two years though, this particular variation has been standard protocol at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. 

This definitely isn’t your grandmother’s stuffing recipe. It’s a marriage of all your favorite fall flavors and the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful, moist roasted turkey and gravy. This stuffing has it all—bread cubes, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, sage, rosemary, thyme and added texture from protein-packed quinoa.

I think what I love most about this stuffing is it can be a full meal in and of itself. So, if you’ve got vegetarians at your dinner table they can eat a whole plate of this and feel perfectly full and content. Alternatively, if you’re trying to keep Thanksgiving dinner simple this is really three classic Thanksgiving sides in one because it combines stuffing, cranberries and sweet potatoes! Just serve this alongside your turkey and gravy and your dinner is all set!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Are you the one doing all the cooking? Does your family do it potluck style? Or are you Chandler Bing pretend yelling at football on TV (Go Green Bay Mermen) while someone else does all the work? Let me know below in the comments and also let me know what your favorite (or least favorite) Thanksgiving food is! 

If you try out this stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving this year, please leave me a comment below and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@frydaeblog or #frydae). I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to have this blog and to share my favorite recipes with each of you. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Hazelnut Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing with Apples and Sweet Potato

Truly an "everything but the kitchen sink" stuffing, this recipe contains a plethora of delicious ingredients making this stuffing the perfect accompaniment to your next turkey dinner.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 cup white onion (diced)
  • 3 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups apples (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup sweet potato (peeled, diced into 1/2" cubes)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup whole roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup tricolored quinoa (cooked according to package)
  • 12 ounces herbed stuffing cubes (I like Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2-3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then, on a lined baking sheet place cubed sweet potato and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil. Toss to coat in oil and then sprinkle with a little chopped fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. Roast sweet potatoes for 15-20 minuted until golden and fork tender.

    Meanwhile, in an extra large pot over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant—about 4 minutes. 

    Next, add diced apples and cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to soften. Add rosemary, sage, thyme and maple syrup and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

    When sweet potatoes are done, remove from oven and decrease your oven temperature to 350 degrees. Then, transfer the sweet potatoes to the onion/apple mixture. Add cooked quinoa, hazelnuts and whole cranberries and gently fold to incorporate into the mixture. Take care not to mush the sweet potatoes too much!

    Then, begin to fold in the stuffing cubes. As you fold, gradually pour in the chicken broth—about 1/4 cup at a time. Continue to add broth until all the stuffing cubes have been hydrated. You may or may not use all of your broth.

    This is where personal preference comes into play. If you like a dryer stuffing where the bread cubes hold their shape when served, just add enough chicken broth to moisten all the cubes (closer to 2 cups). If you like a mushier stuffing, then add more broth to the mixture (closer to 3 cups).

    Transfer stuffing to a large and deep casserole dish that has been sprayed with olive or coconut oil. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes and then uncover. Return to oven uncovered for 10 minutes and bake until the top layer of stuffing begins to turn golden and get nice and toasted. 

    Remove and serve warm alongside roasted chicken or turkey. This stuffing is especially delicious drizzled with a little gravy. Enjoy!

Notes


If you don't want to spring for hazelnuts, roasted walnuts are also great in this stuffing. I've also swapped the roasted sweet potato for butternut squash too or done a combination of the two.

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