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Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar Cheese

2 Tbl Extra-virgin olive oil
1 Medium Onion, halved and thinly sliced
¾ Cup Apple cider
2 Lb Butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (5 ¼ cups)
4½ Cups Chicken stock
½ Cup Heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 Tbl Unsalted butter
1 Apple, cut into ½-inch dice
1/3 Cup Coarsely shredded smoked cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
Toasted pecans and oats for garnish

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil. Add onion and cook until golden. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.
In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Heat a medium skillet. Add butter and diced apple and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Garnish with cheddar and toasted pecans and oats.

Yield: 4 servings