Take advantage of the last of the winter squash and prepare this slow cooker butternut squash soup. The best thing about this recipe is that you can add all the vegetable to the pot and the slow cooker does all the work for you. Cubes of butternut squash are added to a classic mirepoix (carrot, celery, and onion) along with tart apples and minced garlic. A myriad of spices including nutmeg, coriander, and cumin are mixed into the soup base. They compliment the sweetness of the squash and take this soup from ordinary to fabulous.
1 pound butternut squash, about 2.5
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled
32 ounces chicken broth, or vegetable broth, if you prefer
2 small apples, peeled, cored and cubed (I used a Granny Smith and an Arkansas Black apple)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Brush or rub the inside of the squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place cavity-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. When cool enough to handle, peel the squash and chop into pieces and add to the slow-cooker.
While the squash is roasted, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the garlic form the pan and add the onions, celery, and all of the seasonings, cooking until the vegetables have softened. Deglaze the pan with the broth and stir to combine.
Add the vegetables in broth and apples to the slow-cooker. Cook on lowheat for 6 to 8 hours. When you're ready to eat, add the 1/4 cupcream andblend thesoup with an immersionblender (or in small batches in ablender). Enjoy with some good bread for dippin'.