Everyone needs a good butternut squash soup recipe. This Roasted Butternut Squash, Fennel and Apple Soup is easy to prepare and packs a ton of flavour! Warming your soul on cooler Fall days. Store some in the freezer to have it on hand for a quick meal any day of the week!
The addition of fennel and apple really kicks this soup up a notch. I've also added in fresh sage, ground nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper to round out the flavours. It's a perfect combination to get you feeling all the Fall vibes. If you don't have, or don't like any of those you can switch things up. A touch of cinnamon and chopped parsley, some curry powder and cilantro...ground cumin...etc.
You can use homemade or store bought vegetable or chicken stock for this recipe. I usually have homemade stock in my freezer (post coming soon!) but I always keep some store bought on hand in case I run out. There are many good quality brands on the market that are very reasonably priced. Look for for organic. There are no additives or artificial anything and usually contain less, or no, salt.
How to peel a butternut squash
Over the years I have tried every which way to peel a squash. This is the method I landed on some time ago and the way I find easiest. The skin is very thick so using a vegetable peeler doesn't quite do the trick. A sharp knife ensures you get all the peel without having to go back and peel it a second time. It's quick and easy with little mess.
First cut the top and bottom off the squash. Then cut it in half, width-wise, right above the rounded bottom section. Stand each half on it's end. Using a sharp knife remove the skin from top to bottom, working your way around the sides. With the rounded bottom half you will probably need to go around it with a paring knife to remove a bit from the bottom edge that the knife will miss.
How to cut a butternut squash
Slice each half into approximately 3/4 inch slices. Stack 2 or 3 at a time and slice into sticks the same thickness. Then cut the sticks into cubes. Toss them into a large bowl.
how to cut a fennel bulb?
If you've never tried fresh fennel now's the time! It is such a lovely vegetable raw or cooked. It actually isn't a vegetable. Technically it's an herb but we use it like a vegetable. It has a texture similar to celery, but less stringy, and a very mild licorice flavour. You can save the fronds to use as garnish for the soup. It's also delicious tossed into salads.
Cut the stems off and discard. If you notice damaged or bruised outer leaves you can remove them or peel off the brown parts with a vegetable peeler. I always look for beautiful fresh bulbs to avoid having to peel off any layers. Cut into quarters lengthwise. Remove the core from each piece. Cut into slices and then into cubes. Toss into the bowl with the squash. Toss with some olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper (optional), top with some halved garlic cloves, and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
cooking the soup
While the vegetables are roasting, dice up a large onion and two apples. In a pot large enough to hold all the vegetable and stock, saute the onion until it's very soft. I always do this at a medium to low heat so the onions don't brown. Add the apples, chopped sage, nutmeg and 1-2 tsp salt. Stir and set aside if the squash and fennel are still roasting.
Add the roasted vegetables to the soup pot when they are done and return to the heat. Add four cups of stock and bring to a boil. Whenever I make soup I start with only part of the amount of stock. Each pot of soup comes out a different thickness so I like to adjust that after pureeing. How thick or thin is a matter of personal preference so add as much or as little extra as you like. Once boiling turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree.
Best way to puree soup
The preferred way is dependent on how smooth you want your soup and what equipment you have. If you like a super silky texture then use a traditional blender. If you like a bit more texture, but still smooth, use a hand blender. One of the reasons I love a hand blender so much is you can just do it right in the pot with only a small piece to clean. I'm all about doing the fewest amount of dishes possible! I have a very old hand blender but this is the one I've had my eye on CUISINART Hand Blender with Chopper Attachment. And I just realized it's on sale right now so maybe I should bite the bullet and get one now! Mine is over 20 years old after all...
This is where I decide how much more stock to add. I added 2 extra cups for a total of 6 cups of stock.
If you are using cream add it all to the soup pot. Or add a little to each bowl as you serve it. Top with some toasted pumpkin seeds and fennel fronds and you are ready for your Instagram shots!
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Roasted butternut squash, fennel and apple soup
- 6 L soup pot or dutch oven
- Traditional or hand blender
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed, 6-8 cups
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and cubed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 1+2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- 3+1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, white or Spanish, peeled and diced
- 2 small apples, peeled and cubed, about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 tsp sage leaves, chopped. 8-10 small leaves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 4-6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup 35% cream, optional
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- fennel fronds for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Peel and cube the squash. Cut off the stems of the fennel bulb saving some of the fronds for garnish if desired. Dice.
- Place squash and fennel in a large bowl add halved garlic cloves. Pour over 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and cayenne pepper if using. Toss to coat. Pour mixture onto a baking tray and roast in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until nice and soft. Stir half way through roasting.
- While vegetables are roasting dice onion and apples. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to to a large pot. Over medium heat saute onions until they are very soft, 6-8 minutes. Add apples, sage, nutmeg and 2 tsp of salt. Stir. If vegetables haven't finished roasting, remove onions from heat and set aside.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pot with onions and apples. Return to medium-high heat.
- Add 4 cups of stock and reserve the extra 2 cups. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend with a hand or regular blender. Adding more stock to achieve desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- If using cream, add it to the soup and stir, or pour a small amount into each serving. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and fennel fronds if desired.
- Soup will keep in the refrigerator for one week.
- Freeze for up to 6 months.