the taste space

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla

Posted in Soups by janet @ the taste space on October 4, 2011

How much is half a bushel?

Technically, it is 4 pecks or 8 gallons.

After this weekend, to me, it means 26.6 lbs of apples.

Or 66 apples!

And a bargain at $15.75 (60c/lb!)

(our bushel was slightly rounded, hehe)

Last weekend, Rob and I travelled to Birtch Farms for some DIY apple picking. We were expecting to come home with Cortland and Empire, but were tickled pink when we found out that Mutsu (aka Crispin), Jonagold and Ida Red were also ripe for picking!

Rob had never had Mutsu before, and thankfully we were encouraged to sample the apples first to figure out which we preferred. Mutsu was the clear winner for a snacking apple, followed by the Ida Red. While the Jonagold is a cross between a Jonathan and Golden Delicious, I thought it tasted too much like a Gala for me to enjoy it. Sadly, we missed the Honeycrisp picking season, and I don’t think they grow Ambrosia out here, which are my 2 favourite snacking apples. Mutsu will be my go-to apple for the next month or so, though!

Rob also picked up some fresh apple cider for the road and when we returned I made this delicious soup.

A butternut squash soup with pear, apple cider and vanilla from Orangette.

Who says vanilla is only for sweet desserts?

Add it to your savoury dishes, as well.

Sometimes you can go too sweet with squash but here, everything was balanced nicely. The pear and cider are sweet, but the vanilla calms it down. It was smooth and creamy from the squash and milk. A delightful light, creamy soup.

Perfect for your next Thanksgiving meal. Or any day you want a delicious heart-warming soup.


This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Chris from Mele Cotte.

Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla

2 tbsp olive oil
2 -lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (5-6 cups)
2 firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup nondairy milk
1 vanilla bean, about 7 inches long
Fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the squash, pears, and onion, stir to coat with oil, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is soft and transparent and the pears are starting to fall apart.

2. Add the cider, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.

3. Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Taste and season it with salt. Continue to cook the soup over medium-low heat, uncovered, until it has reduced to about 1/2 to 1/3 of its original volume. Stir occasionally. The final consistency is up to you; when it reaches a thickness that seems right—not too thin, not too thick—it’s ready.

4. While the soup is reducing, put the milkin a small saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise into two long strips. Using the back of your knife, scrape the tiny black seeds out of the bean. Scoop the seeds and the bean halves into the pan with the milk, and put the pan over low heat. Warm the milk until it is steaming, but not boiling. Remove it from the heat, remove and discard the vanilla bean halves, and whisk to break up any clumps of seeds in the cream. Set aside.

5. When the soup has reduced to its desired thickness, stir in the milk, taking care to not leave any little black seeds behind in the saucepan. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve, garnished with chives.

Serves 4-6.

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17 Responses

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  1. Johanna GGG said, on October 4, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    sounds intriguing – can’t imagine vanilla and savoury but I can imagine that I would love this combination of flavours

  2. Erin said, on October 4, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    That’s a lot of apples! I’m more than a little bit jealous of your fruit-picking adventure.

  3. Caitlin said, on October 4, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    i absolutely adore the color of this soup- burnt orange is a quintessential autumn color. as far as the combination of butternut squash, pear, and vanilla, well that’s just heavenly. bookmarking this one for sure ;)

  4. Heidi said, on October 4, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Looks heavenly. I may opt for a shortcut with vanilla extract but will give this a try in the next few weeks for sure.

  5. Amanda Paa (@sweetnsnazzy) said, on October 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Can’t believe you got all those apples for $15! Sometimes I wish fall lasted all year long, such an abundance of wonderful fruits and veggies.

  6. Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board said, on October 4, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    This sounds like such a great combination, and I love the addition of vanilla!
    By the way, I went to Thrive the other day! I had the green curry bowl which was good, but not what I expected from the title, and my sister had the big green sandwich and said it was the best sandwich she’s ever had!

    • Saveur said, on October 4, 2011 at 4:11 PM

      So jealous! Thanks for the tip on the sandwich. I adored the big green smoothie and the pad thai when I went last time. :)

  7. Joanne said, on October 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Vanilla and butternut squash pair really well together…I put them in a risotto together last year – amazing! That is a TON of apples…given that apples are my favorite fruit…I’m super jealous of your abundance!

  8. Jay said, on October 4, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    must have tasted divine…irresistable cliks..
    first time here..love your space..
    very interesting posts with gorgeous presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  9. Cara said, on October 5, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    I love your addition of vanilla here! And pears, I swear, they are about to become my new favorite thing :)

  10. [...] Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry Triple Corn Pancakes [...]

  11. Chris said, on October 9, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Isn’t apple picking the greatest! I am still working through the apples I brought home from my adventures.

    This soup is stunning! The addition of the pears is brilliant. And, a perfect addition to WHB. :)

  12. [...] Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, Apple Cider and Vanilla Janet (The Taste Space) [...]

  13. Ashley said, on October 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    I haven’t tried Mutsu apples before and can’t believe you don’t like gala!! I think honeycrisp and gala are sort of similar, though honeycrisp are a bit more tart. This soup sounds really yummy. I love that there’s pear in it. I’ve yet to try vanilla in savoury food.

  14. Ashley said, on October 27, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    So last night I cut up a gala and a honeycrisp and Eric and I split them. And the gala tasted so gross compared to the honeycrisp!! It made me think of you haha. I thought there was something wrong with the gala, like it had absorbed the fridge odours or something but Eric liked it. So I gave him my gala and took his honeycrisp mmm.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM

      Haha, that is too funny. I used to really like Gala, but once I got the taste of others, it was totally shunned. :P Right now, my favourite is Mutsu! I think I even prefer it to the Honeycrisp and Ambrosia (my other favourites) because it has just the right amount of sweetness and crispness. :)

  15. […] away with my stash of apples. Earlier, Rob and I tried to go apple picking where we had gone a few years ago. Turns out that the farm was subsequently sold and the DIY apple picking was no more. Since the […]


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