the saturday soup – apple & butternut squash soup October 22, 2011

The trip I took to Portland did everything I had hoped it would. It gave me a breather and a much needed change of scenery. It inspired me to pick up the camera more when food isn’t around. Its independent spirit renewed my faith in doing your own thing and making your own way. There’s been an unexpected side effect, though – a screeching case of wanderlust. In between the chaos of working non-stop since my return, I wake up in the mornings thinking about weekend cabin getaways. Surfing the Internet in search of information for our big trip next year. Even plotting a culture filled staycation on my next full day off.

While my sweetie was out of town in New Orleans, I headed to North Georgia with Chris for an early morning travel fix. Our destination: Mercier Orchards, which is about an hour north of Atlanta. I’d been there many times for their preserves, still warm apple hand pies and bags of local produce…but I had never been there to pick my own apples. On a glorious September day, we wandered around the orchard grounds & picked as many apples as our bags would hold. Plotting the baking and soup making that would happen with all the incredible Granny Smiths. Marveling at the simple pleasure of eating a Beni Shogun apple straight off the tree in the warm sunshine.

Just as I’d enjoyed the simple pleasure of just eating a plain ol’ apple, I knew I wanted to incorporate these beauties into a simple soup. A lot of times with winter squash soups, those flavors get bogged down by the addition of curries, baking spices, ginger. There’s a place for those soups, don’t get me wrong…but sometimes, it’s nice to taste the essence of perfectly fresh food you’re cooking with. No fussy garnish, no dollops or croutons – you can add those if you’d like. This was early fall – and the beauty of those apples – in a bowl.

Apple & Winter Squash Soup – serves 4 as a soup course or light entree

This soup is vegetarian and vegan if you keep to the recipe directly. I love the ease and simplicity of it. The addition of the apple cider at the end really enhances the apple taste. This would be a great starter in some small cups or shot style glasses at fall dinners or holiday entertaining. While I’m being a purist here, certainly add a bit of creme fraiche, nutmeg or ginger if you’d like.

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil or other preferred oil for sauteing
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium (6″-7″ long) butternut squash – peeled, seeds removed, and diced
  • 3-4 cups lightly flavored vegetable stock or water – you want to use just enough to cover the apples and squash
  • 2 cups fresh pressed apple cider
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper – to taste

– In a large soup pot or stock pot, heat the oil until slightly shimmering. Add in the diced apples and squash. Stir to coat with oil and saute, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add in the water until the apples & squash are just covered. Bring mixture to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook until the chunks are fork-tender – for me, this took about 20 minutes. Remove from heat & allow to cool. In a high powered blender – as usual, I endorse my Vitamix for this – puree the chunks of apple & squash along with the liquid until smooth. Return to the pot, bring the soup back to a simmer and stir in the apple cider. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Once heated through, serve immediately. This soup will keep for up to a week in a tightly sealed storage container.


Laura Oct 22, 2011 12:10 pm

I grew up on Mercier trips! That was our family’s fall tradition. Apple cider and a doughnut… yum!

This soups look delicious! I can’t believe I have never added cider to mine. I use Sweetwater’s habanero-infused olive oil for the saute. The kick is awesome with the sweetness from the apples.

Paula - bell'alimento Oct 22, 2011 12:10 pm

Oh love butternut squash! And the apple cider in yours – brilliant! I just posted a creamy butternut squash/potato soup!

Cookie and Kate Oct 22, 2011 02:10 pm

I would love to sip on some warm, sweet butternut and apple soup this fall. Your photos of the apple orchard are lovely. I’d like to visit one someday!

Lori Oct 22, 2011 02:10 pm

This sounds and looks delicious. It’s perfect for this squash I bought this week and had no earthly idea what to do with it.

BTW, I’m about 45 min. north of Atlanta! Where is this Mercier Orchards?

marla Oct 22, 2011 02:10 pm

I have it on my to-do list to take my kids a few hours away to the apple orchards in Julien. They close tomorrow to the public. This post has surely inspired me, I hope we can make it! Lovely soup :)

Sue/the view from great island Oct 22, 2011 04:10 pm

You’ve inspired me to get out apple picking. I like your purist approach to the soup, and definitely interesting to make more of a statement with the apples. I want a warm cup of it with a grilled cheese.

Lucy@acookandherbooks Oct 22, 2011 08:10 pm

Love Mercier’s and I love this soup! The Mutsus and Macintosh were excellent when we were there. Too early for the Pink Ladys.

Chris Oct 22, 2011 09:10 pm

ooh! Nice way to use the apples. And, love the apple cider addition. Two thumbs up! :)

Tickled Red Oct 23, 2011 09:10 am

A culture filled staycation always revives me as well. That is seriously a beautiful bowl of soup, love the flavor combos.

DessertForTwo Oct 23, 2011 04:10 pm

Gorgeous! I think I’ve got wanderlust too. I’ve been itching to get back to Big Sur recently.

Thanks for the sweet comment on my site :)

Kathy - Panini Happy Oct 24, 2011 01:10 am

This sounds just wonderful. I’ve already made butternut squash soup twice this season, next time I’d love to add apples to the mix. And thanks for the reminder to ask Santa for a Vitamix this year. :-)

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen Oct 24, 2011 02:10 am

I must admit I have never added apples to a soup. And you know I’m such a big fan of soups! This is so simple and straight forward, it really speaks ‘fall’ to me.

SMITH BITES Oct 24, 2011 07:10 am

butternut squash soup is ALWAYS on my fall ‘to make’ list and in fact, fall has not officially arrived until The Professor has made his famous recipe – we use pears instead of apples but to me, they are interchangeable!! lovely Tami!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Oct 25, 2011 03:10 am

That sounds like a wonderful day, I would love to visit an orchard and pick my own apples sometime.

Rachel Nov 1, 2011 01:11 pm

I love how simple a good butternut squash soup can be! Between straight up butternut squash bisques and butternut squash and apple soups, fall is my favorite season to cook straight from the backyard.

[…] ingredients. I had seen a recipe a few weeks ago for an apple and butternut squash soup on the blog Running with Tweezers, and was intrigued by the combination. I had a 10lb cheese pumpkin from the farmer’s market […]

Ebru Aug 26, 2013 08:08 pm

Great soup! I am glad to have found you from your guest post at EatingDeliciously because I am such a heahtly foodie too. This soup uses such simple ingredients that I really think anyone can try making this at home. I still use the stove top or a thermal pot for making soup, but I do know people who use a rice cooker because it is easy!

[…] squash expert, I’d love your opinion. I found the recipe on another one of my favorite blogs, Running with Tweezers (highly recommend!). Go ahead and take a gander, I’ll […]