Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
5 tbsp. butter
1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 leek, green and white parts, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage leaves
4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup apple cider
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
chopped fresh chives for garnish
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the squash, leeks, carrot, and celery and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browned. Stir in apples, thyme, and sage.
2. Add stock and cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender. Let cool.
3. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and purée. (May be prepared to this point 1 day ahead). Return soup to pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to simmer and stir in the cream. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with the chives.