A Trio of Autumn Soups

Trio of Autumn Soups

Yes, that's right, a trio. I went a little hog-wild with the soups because I am desperately seeking Fall and soup screams cozy-cool weather to me! I took my husband on an apple picking escapade to Julian, CA where I was able to pick up some beautiful squash at the farm stand, apple cider at the cider mill, and take home several pounds of apples and I wanted to come up with some great ways to use them! {More on my trip to come!} What better way to fill an 85-degree October day than with soup making?! Yes, I was wearing shorts and a tank top the whole time with fans blowing in every direction. I twisted up a classic tomato with some cider and black garlic, combined a new favorite ingredient (celery root!) with an ingredient I always thought I hated until recently (fennel!), and added a step (roasting!) to a favorite of mine, butternut squash soup. Without further ado, I give you 'A Trio of Autumn Soups':

Tomato-Cider Soup w. Sage Oil // Serves 10-12

2 T butter

4 fresh sage leaves, torn

1 large onion, diced (apx. 1 1/2 c)

3 cloves black garlic*, sliced

2 medium sweet-tart apples; peeled, cored, & sliced

8 oz caramelized tomato paste**

1 T Sriracha

1/2 c dry white wine (A not-too-fruity Chardonnay works well here)

44 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz + 16 oz cans)

1 1/2 c fresh, raw unsweetened apple cider

2 1/2 c vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 c milk or cream

Salt & pepper

Sage oil for serving

*Black garlic is a fermented/caramelized/milder version of garlic. If you cannot find it (try Trader Joe's and Asian markets!), roast your garlic before using it, or in a pinch, just use 2 cloves sliced fresh garlic. It won't have that umami of the black garlic, but it will still be great!

**To caramelize tomato paste, heat 1 1/2 T olive oil in a small frying pan, add the whole 8oz can of tomato paste and cook & stir until the oil in incorporated and the paste caramelizes into a deep red

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat, add onions and slowly sweat (covered, stirring occasionally) until onions are translucent but no browning has occurred; about 30 minutes. A few minutes before they finish, add garlic, sage, and a pinch of salt.

Add wine and cook 1-2 minutes, add apples and tomato paste and allow liquid to reduce by half.

Tomato-Cider Soup

Add tomatoes, cider, and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Add milk and simmer another 10. In batches, transfer soup to a Vitamix, and blend until smooth. Return to pan and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. The flavor should be slightly sweet, with a rich tomato flavor and a hint of heat. If possible, allow the flavors to meld for several hours over overnight before heating and serving. Drizzle sage oil on top for a little fancy flavor!

Sage Oil

1 c packed sage leaves

1/4 c olive oil

Blanch sage by plunging them into boiling water for 15-20 seconds, then immediately into an ice bath to stop any cooking. Drain leaves and dry well in paper towel. Give the leaves a rough chop and place in a blender or small food processor with the oil and blend at a medium speed until it's a nice consistency for drizzling. This should sit up to 24 hours to blend flavors and will keep for a week, tightly covered, in the fridge.

Celery Root & Fennel Soup

Cream of Celery Root & Fennel Soup // Serves 6

5 white peppercorns

1 small bay leaf

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme

1 T butter

1 medium leek, light green & white parts only, halved, rinsed, & sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c water

1 c vegetable or chicken broth

1 1/2 c peeled & 1/2" diced celery root (apx. 3/4 lb)

1 c sliced fennel bulb (1 small or 1/2 large)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 c milk

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Creme fraiche, for serving

Create a sachet d'Epices with the first four ingredients {place them in a square of cheesecloth and tie it up!} Set aside.

Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven, add leeks, cooking to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add water, broth, celery root, fennel, salt, pepper, and sachet.

Sachet d'Epices

Bring to boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until celery is very tender, apx. 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Remove sachet and blend remaining ingredients with an immersion blender or in batches in a Vitamix.

Return puréed soup to pot and taste for seasonings; you may add a little more broth here if it's too thick for your taste, but add it before adjusting the salt so you don't make it too salty. Bring soup to a simmer and stir in the lemon juice. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.


Roasted Winter Squash Soup // Serves 6-8

Roasted Squash:

2 lbs winter squash (I used 1 butternut and ½ an acorn)

1 tsp butter

¼ tsp nutmeg

Salt & pepper

Remaining Ingredients:

1 medium leek, light green & white parts only, halved, rinsed, & sliced (apx. 1 c)

1 T butter

4 c vegetable or chicken broth

1 tsp salt

8 fresh sage leaves, divided

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored & sliced

¼ tsp white pepper

1 bay leaf

Olive oil for fried sage garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees; line sheet pan with foil. Using a sharp knife, carefully split the squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and reserve seeds. Place squash cut side up on pan and rinse the seeds clean of any ‘guts’. Melt 1 tsp butter and brush over the flesh of the squash; sprinkle with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Place the seeds on a small pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place both pans in oven and check on the seeds at about 20 minutes, and roast the squash 50 minutes - 1 hour, until fork-tender but not mushy. Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, stack 4 sage leaves, roll them up, then slice thinly to create little ribbons; this is called a chiffonade. Set aside and repeat with remaining sage leaves, keeping them separate. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a soup pot over medium heat; add leeks and cook 3-4 minutes to soften. Add four of the sliced sage leaves, the apple, and ¾ tsp salt. Cook until the apples soften and the leeks begin to caramelize.

Scoop the flesh of the squash directly into the soup pot (I reserved half of my acorn squash and ate it as a snack!). Add broth, pepper, and bay leaf; stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to low, simmer, stirring to break up and soften squash, about 25-30 minutes. As the soup simmers, heat 2 T olive oil in a small frying pan; separate and sprinkle in remaining four sliced sage leaves and fry until crispy but not brown. Transfer to paper towel and sprinkle with salt. {Tip: Reserve oil to brush on toasts for serving!} Once the squash is soft, remove bay leaf and process soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add remaining salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fried sage and toasted seeds to serve.

Roasted Winter Squash Soup

Each one of these soups has it's own distinct flavor, but they play together well. I think these were fantastic served together in small bowls as a starter, but each are great for a healthy, but hearty, lunch or dinner too. Feel free to use any type of dairy you like to adjust the richness, or leave out completely if that suits your family best! It's so fun to cook seasonally and discover new vegetables; as I mentioned above, I always thought I would hate fennel because it's described as having a licorice flavor which I detest. However, I tried it roasted and I liked it, so then I sliced it thinly for a salad and I like it, so I added to the celery root soup to balance out the flavors. It just goes to show you that you never know until you try! However, I continue to try olives in different forms and I still do not care for them...so it doesn't always work!!

With a full heart and an empty plate,