Curried Apple-Squash Soup

I can’t help but keep thinking about apples lately. As one of relatively few fruits we grow locally in abundance, it seems they are always a big part of the culture this time of year. Do folks pile on hay-covered vehicles in California or Florida when it comes time to pick oranges and ride through the groves to celebrate the season, drinking orange juice and merrily taking in all things oranges?

Apart from being tasty, apples, of course, are very good for us, too. Recent studies have linked apples/apple products to helping with everything from weight loss to different types of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even asthma, according to the U.S. Apple Association. Some of the most recent studies on apples and apple products have linked apples with improving the symptoms of Alzheimer´s disease and possibly decreasing your risk for developing it as well as improved immunity and digestive health due to the pectin (soluble fiber) found in the apple’s peel. Sounds like that old “apple a day” adage had something to it. (Click here for more on their nutrition.)

And when you combine apples with squash, another good-for-you food abundant this time of year, how can you go wrong? In this recipe by chef-turned food writer Regina Schrambling, which appeared in Real Food, cider concentrates the apple flavor in the vibrant soup, with curry adding a hint of heat and a perceptible flavor. Other winter squash can substitute for the butternut, but starting with pre-chopped chunks makes this soup almost as easy as opening up a can.

Curried Apple-Squash Soup

Serves 4 to 6

4 tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse sea salt to taste
1 tbsp. curry powder
2 c. chopped butternut squash
2 large apples, any variety, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 c. apple cider
1 c. water
1 c. heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: Chopped scallion greens for garnish

Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and mix well. Cook, stirring often, until onion and celery are very soft, about 10 minutes. Add squash, apples, cider, and water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook until the squash and apples are very soft, about 45 minutes.

Cool the soup slightly, then purée using an immersion or regular blender. Stir in the cream. Season with pepper to taste and more salt if needed. Heat until warmed through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped scallion.

Nutrition info (per serving) Curried Apple-Squash Soup: CALORIES 307 (184 from fat); FAT 20g (sat. 13g); CHOL 65mg; SODIUM 34mg; CARB 32g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 2g

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