Apples, apples, apples! What could be better? But in a soup, you ask? Well, YES! I came across this recipe from Food Network Magazine that I was going to make last week but the Big Guy moaned loud and clear that he wasn't impressed with a meatless soup. Just when I think I have him used to the idea he balks. Men!
Anyway, I pouted a bit then put my thinking cap on and came up with a brilliant idea. Our local Sprouts Market makes some really awesome chicken and apple sausages spiced with cinnamon and cloves. They are absolutely the bomb and I love to use them any chance I get.
I simply removed them from their casings and browned them well, then transferred the crumbles onto a plate and went on with the recipe. Onions, apples, white potato and chunks of butternut squash were sauteed in butter then cooked in apple cider, and chicken broth. Once the vegetables were tender the Big Guy asked for the honor of whizzing the pot of yum smooth with the immersion blender. Boys and their toys - really, I was just waiting for the blender to come out of the pot and I'd be cleaning soup off the ceiling; however, thankfully after a non eventful blending job I added some Apple Jack Brandy to the mix for a little punch.
Finished with milk and Swiss cheese instead of the cheddar called for in the recipe, the cooked sausage was returned to the pot then we served it up and drizzled each bowl with a touch more Apple Jack just because we love the stuff and any excuse for booze is a good enough excuse.
Our collective opinion - this soup "rocks". If you haven't decided on a starter yet for your Thanksgiving dinner, this would be perfect. If you have and you're wondering what to put on the menu for Friday night along with some of those leftover turkey sandwiches, this would be the soup to soothe your soul following a day in the trenches shopping with all the crazies on Black Friday. Believe you me, I'll be looking for an excuse to whip up another pot soon.
By the way, if you're unable to find a chicken and apple sausage in your local supermarket, you could substitute a regular sage or maple flavored pork sausage (like Jimmy Dean's) and add a pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves or allspice to the soup. It'll be just fine!
Triple Apple Squash Soup with Swiss Cheese (adapted from Food Network Magazine)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound chicken/apple sausage
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, sliced (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 large white potato, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup apple cider
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup milk
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Apple Jack Brandy
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat until shimmering. Remove casings from sausage and crumble into pot. Cook until no longer pink, crumbling into pieces. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add butter to pot and when melted add onion, apples, potato and butternut squash. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add sage, flour and apple cider. Cook stirring for 2 minutes, then add chicken stock. Bring to a boil stirring constantly, and then cover pot and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Remove pot from heat and using an immersion blender or counter top blender, carefully puree mixture until smooth. Return soup to medium heat and stir in reserved cooked sausage, milk and cheese. When soup is hot and cheese is melted (do not boil), stir in Apple Jack Brandy just before serving. Serves 6. Download Triple Apple Squash Soup with Swiss Cheese