As Thanksgiving eve draws ever near (and our thawing turkeys take up what little space is left in the refrigerator), I've just started warming up my oven for a long evening of baking. Certainly I've switched the knob to preheat, but many a motivational speech has also been given. My oven has a mighty important job to do in the next 18 hours. If there was as much pressure on me to perform, I'd wish for a cheerleader too.
Tonight, however, I've decided to share a different kind of recipe with you. It has nothing to do with Turkey Day and does not pair well with sweet potato casserole and spoonfuls of gravy. In fact, I've specifically chosen not to share a Thanksgiving recipe with you (if you are lucky enough to cook the feast, the very last thing I want to do is send you off to the grocery store again). This particular recipe, instead, is reserved for after the holiday. Once tomorrow's long period of gluttony is over, I think I might need a little detox for a couple days (and maybe you feel this way too).
When that happens, this Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup will be waiting for you.
I've actually posted a very similar recipe before, but this time around I've made a few changes that might have made it even better. It features a puree of roasted vegetables and is filling enough to keep you satisfied until the next meal. Plus, since this is a vegetarian soup, I'm absolutely certain it would go perfectly with a side of leftover turkey sandwiches.
But, since Thanksgiving isn't over yet (and thousands of calories are still sitting in my kitchen waiting to be eaten), I would like to share my traditional holiday menu with you. Our house was chosen this year to host the main event and although it isn't nearly big enough to hold the 20 invited guests comfortably, I'm certain we'll manage just fine. Food does bring everyone together—figuratively and literally.
The Main Event
Turkey (the star of the show)
Grandma's Famous Stuffing (I could eat this and only this all day and be completely satisfied)
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Desserts & Snacks
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
Ranch Roasted Chickpeas
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake
Cranberry White Chocolate Tarts
Chocolate Gingersnap Tart
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (for the kids!)
Since I was aptly placed on dessert duty (and I can't seem to keep myself away from the butter and sugar), it turns out there will be nearly as many desserts as real dishes. Typical me. I just hope my guests leave room for dessert. I'll even settle for "willing to look for extra space that may or may not exist" (are you listening, dear relatives? Save space. It will be worth it, I promise).
What Thanksgiving dish do you most look forward to?
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is a sweet and hardy soup. It features a thick puree of roasted vegetables, where the squash and apple take center stage. A little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg help to round out the flavors. This soup is delicious and nutritionally sound, making this a good meal for any autumn day. The flavors of the mushrooms and celery are hidden beneath the squash and apple, which makes this soup easily adaptable (you could easily add cauliflower or any other vegetable with a subtle flavor to pack in more nutrients).
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Yields 8 dinner-sized portions
2-3 pound butternut squash, cubed in 1-inch pieces
4 large sweet apples (such as Gala or Honeycrisp), cubed in 1-inch pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, cut in half
1 cup (about 4 stalks) celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into fourths
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons salt + extra to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper + extra to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional (for a little extra kick)
Pumpkin seeds, optional (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash and onion with 1/8 cup of olive oil. Stir to coat evenly. Place the vegetables in a large baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.
Meanwhile, mix together the apples and mushrooms with the remaining olive oil. Place on another baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.
In a large soup pot, place roasted vegetables and add chicken broth and apple juice. Using a an immersion blender, puree vegetables (alternatively, you may use a blender and puree vegetables with the liquid. This may take 2-3 batches). If the soup is too thick, additional chicken broth or water can be added to thin it out to your desired consistency. Simmer the soup over medium-low heat and season with spices, adding more or less to suit your taste.
Serve warm and garnish with pumpkin seeds, parsley or thyme, and a splash of cream.