Autumn seems endless. We began this journey at the beginning of September in Washington, where the air had turned crisp and cool at night, and the woods had just begun to smell of sweet decay. Slowly, we worked our way across the country, wandering through fall, as it crept from North to South. We are now at the end of our second month of being on the road on the last day of October and here in Kentucky, the days are still 80 degrees while the nights are only now becoming cool and just turning towards winter. If I could have it my way, we would chase fall forever.
Currently, we are staying outside of Bardstown, KY - the heart of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Bourbon Capital of the world. Bardstown also was rated one of the most beautiful small towns in America, so we're completely enjoying our stay here. We have already visited one of the local distilleries - Willet Distillery, a 5th generation distillery and one of the smaller operations in the area. They pride themselves on their family run business and one of the coolest aspects about this particular distillery is that they patented their very own still design. Made of copper, the contraption is the centerpiece of their space. Before leaving we purchased one of the estate bourbon bottles and picked up some apple cider on the way home, so we could enjoy a nice apple bourbon cocktail and play a game of chess while waiting for the soup makings to roast.
One of my very favorite things about this time of year is the unending desire for comfort food and dishes made from the hearty vegetables of harvest. Our kitchen counter is mess of acorn shaped green squash, long and multi-colored delicata, squat kabocha, and the long tan butternut. These large gourds are the stars of my kitchen lately and I am always dreaming up ways to feature them.
This soup is something I've been making for years now and I finally did my due diligence and went through the process of measuring everything out. The apple adds a delightful sweetness and even a little crisp texture to the otherwise smooth quality. Baking spices add that rich, festive flavor, while the fried sage and bacon offer that salty crunch to finish.
1 Large Butternut Squash - Cubed
2 Apples - Peeled and Cubed
3 Cups Chicken Stock
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Onion - Rough Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves - Minced
1/2 Cup Olive Oil, plus some for sauting the onions and garlic
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Cumin
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Fresh Grated Nutmeg
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper
Crisp Chopped Bacon
2 Tbsp Chopped Crispy Sage
1/2 Tsp White Truffle Oil
- Pre-heat oven to 375°.
- Whisk together the olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper.
- Coat butternut squash and apple with oil mixture.
- Disperse squash and apple on large baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Bake squash and apples for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until translucent.
- Add squash and apples to onions and garlic. Sauté together for 3-5 minutes on medium high heat.
- Add chicken stock and heat until entire mixture is warm.
- Lower temp and using an immersion blender or a regular blender in batches, blend soup until all large chunks are gone.
- Salt and pepper the soup to preference.
- Add cream and blend until smooth.
- In a skillet, fry bacon pieces until crispy and set aside.
- Using bacon pan, add chopped sage and fry until crispy, only about 1 minute. Don't overcook!
Scoop soup into bowls and top with bacon and sage, then swirl truffle oil over top.