The toasted spice rub that tops the butternut squash as it cooks is what makes this dish stand out from the rest!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Recipe by Chef Stephen Sands, CEO

Culinaria Cooking School, www.culinariacookingschool.com

Ingredients

12 cups washed, sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only

3 T. unsalted butter

1 T. minced garlic

12 cups diced yellow onion

6-7 cups roasted butternut squash

3 cups granny smith apples, peeled and roughly diced

2 T. toasted spice rub (recipe attached)

8 cups chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

salt & pepper, to taste

3 tsp. olive oil

1 large peeped apple, sliced thinly for garnish

Serves 8

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Cut the butternut squash into strips and scrape out the seeds. Arrange the wedges on a sheet tray, brush with olive oil, and apply the toasted spice rub (see attached). Place the squash in the oven and roast at least 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Scrape the pulp from the shell and reserve.

Melt butter in a large pot over moderate heat and sweat the onions and leeks. When they turn translucent and are soft, add the minced garlic. Add the roasted squash and apples and continue cooking over moderate heat to combine the flavors.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and blend until smooth. Run the blended liquid through a sieve to remove any stringy parts from the leeks. Return the pot to a gentle heat. Add the cream, adjust the seasoning, and simmer for an additional 6-8 minutes.

Ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls and garnish with very thin slices of apple.

Toasted Spice Rub

Ingredients

3 cups fennel seeds

1 T. coriander

1 T. black peppercorns

1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes

4 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt

2 T. ground cinnamon

Preparation

Place the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small skillet over moderate heat. Toss the seeds frequently to toast evenly. When the fennel seeds begin to turn light brown, add the red pepper flakes and toss. Immediately turn the spice mixture out on to a sheet-pan and let cool.

Pour the cooled spice mixture into a blender and add the salt and cinnamon. Blend until the spices are finely and evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Keep the spice mix in and airtight container away from light and heat for up to four months, or freeze for up to a year.

*Recipe courtesy of Chef Stephen Sands, CEO Culinaria Cooking School, www.culinariacookingschool.com.

*Image by Shutterstock.com*