CHARLOTTE – As the leaves start their colorful journey in late September, it’s no better time to use local fall acorn squash and North Carolina apples! Many gardeners treasure the butterscotch, nutty and velvety flavor of Acorn Squash, and its ability to storage for weeks on end until its final use. Winesap apples can be picked from many orchards in the High Country and provide great flavor as well as great memories in your expedition to gather these.
Roasted Acorn Squash and North Carolina Apple Soup (yields 4-6 servings)
Prep Time: 45 Minutes | On the Table: 2 hours
4 large Acorn Squash, cut in half and seeded and oiled
3 large North Carolina Winesap Apples, peeled, seeded and rough chopped
3 Stalks of Celery, cut into ½ moons
2 large Carrots, rough chopped
½ small Onion, rough chopped
1 stick of Butter
½ cup Flour
6 cups Chicken Stock
¼ cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cup Heavy Cream
Sea Salt, Pepper, Ground Ginger and Nutmeg to taste
Preheat your oven to 375. Place a small amount of vegetable oil, a couple of tablespoons perhaps, and rub it all over the interior of the acorn squash, followed by a small amount of salt and pepper. Place the acorn squash, flat side down on a parchment lined sheet pan, add ½ cup of water onto the sheet pan, then cover with foil and place in the oven to bake for around 45 minutes. NOW- lets make some Soup! In a LARGE stock pot, place your butter, apples, carrots, celery and onions over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, bandy about the ingredients for around 5 minutes. Add a bit (2 tsp.) of salt and 10 turns on the pepper mill; the onions should be slightly translucent, and the flavor of caramelized apples should be in the air around you. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle in the flour. Stir gently for another 3-4 minutes as you make the roux. You should start to smell a nutty flavor- now add the stock, brown sugar, extract and heavy cream. Stir until most of the lumps are gone and bring to a simmer. Now reduce heat to the lowest possible and cover. By now, the acorn squash timer should be echoing. If the acorn squash is tender inside, then pull it out of the oven. NOW- very carefully, using a clean kitchen towel, scoop the acorn squash meat into a large bowl. Once you have scooped all of the squash into the bowl, remove the lid and add the acorn squash meat into the soup. Stir well, add ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg, and continue to let simmer on very low for 45 minutes. Last step, take the soup and puree in a bar blender (a ninja blender works well) in small batches, or use an emersion blender until pureed. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh milled pepper.
Pour into a tureen or back into a large pot- serve with a crusty baguette, great butter and a glass of oaky chardonnay… Share meals together, Food is Life, Food is Love!
Chef Glenn is a corporate chef based in Waxhaw- please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org