There’s no cozier time than fall than to gather your friends, light a fire, and enjoy some easy entertaining... And after a day of apple picking or searching for the perfect pumpkin in the crisp outdoors, a simmering pot of butternut squash soup and a generous serving of warm bread will certainly help to ward off the autumn chill.

The following recipe (courtesy of the Tulip Tree Cafe) is a wonderful focal point for any fall gathering. Add some colorful placemats to a rustic table and all you need to complete your perfect fall evening are good friends and good conversation.

Serving this soul-warming soup in pottery bowls or mugs will keep the entertaining easy, and a crusty loaf of bread will ensure that every last drop of soup is savored—and a terra cotta stone will keep the bread warm throughout the meal.

Simply heat the terra cotta stone in the oven at 350˚ F for 10 minutes before carefully placing it in the basket. Wrapping the bread in a vintage style towel will also help to keep the bread warm. Use some festive plates to serve a fall-inspired dessert for a sweet ending to your evening.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe yields 4 bowls or 6 cups of soup and can easily be doubled for company.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 apples chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 to 4 cups (24 to 32 ounces) vegetable broth, as needed (can be substituted with apple cider)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about ½ teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 40 to 50 minutes (don’t worry if the skin or flesh browns). Set the squash aside until it's cool enough to handle. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot, carrots and apple and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the squash, the maple syrup, nutmeg, fresh thyme and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. If you would like to thin out the soup a bit more, stir in the remaining cup of broth. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.

 

No time to prepare your soup? Stop by the Tulip Tree Café and pick up some soup to go—it will make everyone want to stay!