What to Eat for Thanksgiving Lunch: Winter Squash Soup with Apples + Crème Fraîche

• 21 November 2018


For many years, I found myself spending hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning (no complaints!), preparing a dinner that would take place around 4 or 5 pm, with no thought as to how I would nourish myself and my family for lunch. But, clearly we all need sustenance before 5 pm, even on Thanksgiving :) One year I got smart and created this recipe..it turns out it makes for the perfect Thanksgiving Day lunch. Here's why:

- you can make it ahead of time (make it tonight!). Soup is often better the next day anyway.

- it's light enough to allow room in your stomach for an indulgent Thanksgiving meal, but substantial enough to energize you to keep plugging away on those pies. 

- this is the best squash soup recipe I've ever had, so it will only add to the festive foodie spirit on Thanksgiving. 

- it's a crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike

- the soup calls for a combination of my two favorite winter squashes--butternut and red kuri squash (a combination so naturally good that even in the French markets, you'll find these two squashes side-by-side...ha! :)

- your vegetarian guests will thank you when you save them a bowl to enjoy during Thanksgiving dinner; this way, they too can enjoy an elevated meal. 




Notes: You’ll want about 3 lbs total of squash for this recipe. If you absolutely cannot find kuri squash, you may use only butternut squash for the soup.  However, the flavor will be slightly different as well as the color (neither or which are bad things per se). This recipe can be doubled, which I highly recommend!  You can find kuri squash at farmer’s markets and also at nicer grocery stores like Whole Foods.  I've even seen it at my local QFC sometimes. Crème fraîche can be picked up at Trader Joe's (cheapest), Whole Foods and fine food markets. 

Winter Squash Soup with Apples (adapted from Bon Appétit)
1 red kuri squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into approximately 1 inch cubes
1 small butternut squash
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
48 ounces organic chicken stock (or homemade)
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon coarse gray sea salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped (any crisp apple will do)
1 small lemon
1/4 cup crème fraîche

For soup: 
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5-7 minutes making sure the garlic is not overcooked.  Then, add the broth, squash and dried herbs, making sure to just barely cover the squash with stock.  Bring to boil. Then, reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender or with an immersion blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to slight simmer. Season with gray salt and a little fresh ground pepper.
p.s. as a reminder, this soup can be made up to 1 day ahead.  Be sure to cool the soup before chilling in the fridge.  Reheat on the stove before serving.

For the apple garnish: 
Peel and finely chop the apple. Place apples in a small bowl.  Squeeze fresh-squeezed lemon juice over the apples and toss to coat the apples evenly.  After serving up the soup into bowls, garnish each bowl with a spoonful of apples, a dollop of crème fraiche and a pinch of gray sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Enjoy!


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