Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I really enjoy making this soup every fall.  Both apples and butternut squash are reaching their peak, the weather is getting cooler, and this soup just tastes great.  It is spiced with curry powder, a spice blend that I don’t use very often, as I usually like to mix different Indian spices for Indian cookery.  But in this very American soup, based on a recipe in the Silver Palate Cookbook of the 1980’s, curry powder is called for, and it works very well with the squash.  I like Penzey’s  “Maharajah” curry powder better than the curry powders that most supermarkets sell, which to me have an overpowering celery seed aroma.  Choose a curry blend that you like for this soup.  The original recipe called for 5 teaspoons of curry powder;  I have toned it down by using just 2 teaspoons, which still makes the soup spicy, but also allows the squash and apple flavors to come through.  I usually use chicken broth in this soup, but by substituting vegetable broth, it can become a vegetarian soup.   Cornbread is a nice accompaniment.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

3 Tablespoons butter or Earth Balance margarine
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions (about 3 onions)
2 teaspoons curry powder
3 pounds butternut squash (2 medium squash or 1 large)
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
salt and pepper to taste
1 shredded apple for garnishing the soup

Melt the butter or margarine in the soup pot.  Add the chopped onions and curry powder and stir to mix. Cook the onions over low heat until they are tender, about 25 minutes.  While the onions are cooking, peel and seed the squash and chop it.  When the onions are very tender, add the chicken broth, squash and apples and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the squash and apples are very tender, about a half hour.

Puree the soup in batches in a food processor until very smooth.  You can put it through a sieve or food mill afterward if you like, but I usually find the soup smooth enough without having to do that.  Return the soup to the pot, add the apple cider and reheat.  Add salt to taste (about ½ -1 teaspoon) and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the soup garnished with shredded apple.

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