A few days ago I wrote about my recent trip up to Graton Ridge. Barbara Paul, one of the owners of the winery, shared some of her apple cider from their most recent apple crush that happened in August.
I am a huge fan of their gold medal winning Apple Port and decided that I would find a way to use the wine and the cider in a butternut squash soup that I was preparing for a dinner party. The end result was fantastic and pretty easy to prepare.
- 2 large butternut squash sliced in half
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 whole sweet onion
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 cup of Graton Ridge Apple Port
- 3 cups of Apple Cider
- 3.5 - 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- 6 sage leaves finely chopped
- 2 tsp of lemon zest
- 3 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375. Place the squash onto a cookie sheet cut side up (make sure you remove the seeds) and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a knife easily slides into the flesh. Remove from oven when done and let cool.
Melt the butter into a large stock pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the white pepper and stir well. Turn the heat up very high and add the apple port. Let cook down, turn down heat and add the cider and the broth. Let simmer. Once the squash has cooled, remove skin and add to the soup in chunks. Process with a hand held blender or in your kitchen blender (This is challenging, because when you turn on a kitchen blender with a hot liquid it tend to leak out the top. Hand blenders are best.) You will have to process it well to make it smooth so take your time.
Add in the heavy cream and mix well. Add the sage, lemon zest, nutmeg and salt and stir until combined.
Let simmer for a few more minutes, taste and add more salt and/or nutmeg if needed.