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I don’t like soup. Generally, I’d much rather eat my vegetables whole. What’s wrong with that?

However, I love watching the food network. I was watching ‘Barefoot Contessa’ ¬†recently where Ina Garten made Butternut Squash and Apple soup. The combination sounded delicious – two things I love: butternut squash and apple juice. So I set out to make it.

Several challenges are involved in making this soup. First of all you have to keep a very close eye on the onions as they’re frying in the pan. This is harder than it sounds when you’re also peeling and slicing the squash (more on this in the next paragraph). Based on the experience I had it’s a good idea to either buy frozen cubes of butternut squash or peel and slice it before you start the onions.

The second issue is the butternut squash itself. The star of the soup just so happens to be one of the most difficult things to peel and slice in the entire world. If you can get frozen butternut squash I would strongly recommend buying that. If you like a challenge, I hope you enjoy spending half an hour grunting and swearing as you try to slice open the squash and scoop out the copious amount of seeds in the middle. The seeds. Just as you think you’ve surmounted the challenge you come upon the seeds. Small, numerous and ridiculously slippery. You could also roast the squash for 30 minutes or so in the oven. Still, you’d have to halve it and scoop out the seeds beforehand. Every option is fraught with trouble.

Hopefully, you haven’t been put off at this point. With the modifications I’ve made to Ina Garten’s original recipe it really is delicious. I found her recipe far too sweet and so I toned it down with a dash of soy sauce.

You can find the original recipe here.

Ingredients (to make 4-6 servings):
A knob of butter
1tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion
1 Butternut squash
2 Apples
1tsp Cinnamon
250ml Water (1 cup – if you have measuring cups)
250ml Apple juice (1 cup – if you have measuring cups)
1tsp Soy sauce

1. ¬†Peel and slice the squash in half. It may help to use two knives to pry and split the flesh in half. Cut off the ends and scoop out the seeds in the middle using a spoon. Feel around in the cavity for any seeds that you’ve missed and pick them out. Cut the flesh up into rough cubes no more than 5cm x 5cm. Put to one side.

2. Dice the onion. Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large saucepan (you can use a stock pot, but it’s not absolutely necessary – just use the biggest saucepan (that has a lid) you have) and add the diced onion. Fry the onion for about 15 minutes, stirring it regularly, over a medium heat.

3. While the onion is cooking, peel and core the apples. Cut them into 2cm x 2cm cubes.

4. Add the butternut and apple to the saucepan with the onion. Add a dash of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour over a generous cup of water, give everything a gentle stir and cover with the lid. Leave to cook over a medium low heat for about 40 minutes.

5. Make sure the butternut is soft and well cooked before transferring all the ingredients in the saucepan to a bowl or a blender. Using a handheld blender (or normal blender) puree the soup to the coarseness desired. Return to the saucepan. Add the apple juice and stir. Add more or less apple juice to achieve the desired soup consistency. Finally, add the soy sauce to taste and serve.

The soup, if stored in an airtight container the fridge, will keep for several days.

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