Is it just me or has butternut squash become synonymous with fall in the past few years? I feel like every other recipe on Pinterest in October/November lists butternut squash as one of its primary ingredients. I’m not complaining, I love the toothsomeness of butternut squash, along with the hint of sweetness it takes on after roasting. Plus, it’s super cheap – and yields a lot of food.
This recipe comes from Tieghan Gerard’s Half Baked Harvest Cookbook. I first discovered Tieghan’s food blog a couple of years ago and quickly fell in love. There was a period of time when I was making nearly all my weeknight meals from her blog. When she announced that she was releasing her own cookbook, I immediately put it on my birthday wish list. Luckily, my darling boyfriend Ryan picked up the not-so-subtle hint and got it for. That being said, my birthday is in August and the book didn’t come out until September so it was a bit of a waiting game.
Well friends, it was worth the wait. Ryan works outside throughout the fall and, as you might have guessed, is hankering for something warm when lunch rolls around (brief as it might be). Soup comes into regular rotation in our household once the cooler weather rolls around.
When I came across this recipe while flipping through the Half Baked Harvest cookbook, I knew this was going to be a winner. C’mon, apples, brie, butternut squash, aged cheddar AND bacon!? How can you go wrong?
This soup is perfect fall fare, it’s thick, creamy, rich and flavourful. The bacon and pumpkin seed granola on top adds a satisfying crunch that really rounds out the meal. Make this next time you’re craving some hearty warmth.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2/3 cup apple cider
- 2 apples cored and chopped
- 3 cups butternut squash or pumpkin peeled and cubed
- 2 tsp fresh thyme chopped
- 1 bottle beer preferably pumpkin
- 3-4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 8 oz Brie cheese rind removed, cut into cubes
- 4 thick-cut bacon slices
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 1/2 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- Kosher salt
In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it simmers, add the onion and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the cider and let it cook into the onions. Repeat until all the cider has been added and the onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes total. Add the apples, squash, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the beer, 3 cups of the broth, and the cayenne. Increase the heat to high, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the apples and squash are tender.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE GRANOLA. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. When cool enough to handle, coarsely crumble the bacon.
In the same large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until just beginning to brown and smell toasted. Add the oats and pumpkin seeds and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the crumbled bacon. Season with salt.
When the apples and squash are tender, transfer the soup to a blender and pulse until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and set over medium heat. Stir in the milk, then bring the soup to a low boil. Stir in the cheddar and Brie until melted and smooth. Add more broth to thin the soup, if desired. Simmer for about 5 minutes more, or until ready to serve.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the granola.
Recipe from: Gerard, Tieghan. Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from my barn in the mountains. New York: Clarkson Publishers, 2017. p. 248.