Are you ready to talk about Thanksgiving? Now that November has arrived it seems that everywhere I look there are images, recipes, and ideas for the upcoming holiday. Usually I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon, but Thanksgiving just happens to be my #1 favorite day of the year. Why, you ask? Because it is all about the food, of course! No gifts to give, no fireworks to dodge, and no romantic moods to create- simply a giant feast where everyone can eat, drink, and be merry. This year, for the first time, I managed to get ahead of the game and pull together an entire menu of Thanksgiving classics for you to enjoy. Upcoming posts will cover a menu of:

Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
Salad with Persimmons, Candied Pecans, Red Onion and a Lemon Vinaigrette
Lemon and Herb Filled Turkey with Roasted Pan Gravy
Savory Sausage and Sourdough Stuffing
Buttermilk and Chive Mashed Potatoes
Bourbon Orange Cranberry Sauce
Lemon Chess Pie
Spiced Pumpkin Pie made from Fresh Pumpkins

To kick things off in style, I am going to start with a recipe for a green apple and butternut squash soup. Simple to make, yet complexly flavored- it is the perfect way to begin a large meal. A kick of curry wakes up your taste buds and warms the palate while the comforting texture of butternut squash and apples celebrate the best of Fall produce.

The butternut squash can be peeled and cut up a few days before making the soup, while the soup itself can be made up to three days ahead of the meal or with a minor adjustment, up to a month ahead and frozen. Onions are gently sauteed in butter with a dash of curry and chili powder. A stream of chicken broth is poured into the pot along with the squash and apples, and then the entire soup simmers gently for about an hour, leaving you with time to work on other things. Once the ingredients are soft the soup is pureed and a touch of heavy cream is stirred in, adding a rich velvety thickness. Garnished with a sprinkle of parsley the soup is ready to serve- an elegant first course for the feast ahead.

Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup (Printable Recipe)
Adapted from Apples: A Country Garden Cookbook by Christopher Idone
Serves 10

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons good quality curry powder (mild to medium hot unless your guests like spicy!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
5 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium
1 large butternut squash (approximately 8 cups), peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 firm, tart green apples, (such as Granny Smith) peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Directions:

Place a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the butter and onions, sauteing until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry and chili powders and cook for another five minutes, stirring frequently to keep the onions from sticking to the pot. Pour in the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the squash and apples to the pot. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is tender. Using a stick blender in the pot or a regular blender (take care with hot liquids) puree the soup until it is smooth. Stir in the cream, and bring the soup back to a simmer. Taste the soup and add in salt and pepper as necessary. If making ahead, let the soup cool and place it covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve the soup warm, garnished with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or cilantro.

Note: If you want to make the soup way ahead of time, prepare it as directed up until the addition of the cream. Freeze the soup without the cream, then thaw and reheat, stirring in the cream just before serving.

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