Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

As we enjoy these cool crisp days, my taste buds long for a creamy soup to warm my body. This soup is a treasure. The smell of it is a potpourri to scent your entire house! It has become our favorite soup for the season. Recently, we served this as the first course to the luncheon we hosted pre-performance for Elements Theater Company’s performance of “All My Sons”. We received so many recipe requests, we thought we should share it. We are filled with gratitude for each of you. Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent!

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Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
SERVINGS
6-8
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
45minutes
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
1 1/4hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to pot. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes or more.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add the diced apple and purée the soup with a handheld immersion blender until very smooth and creamy. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot.
  4. Add the honey, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and heavy cream and stir. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you like a sweeter soup, add more honey.

Note: This soup thickens as it cools. If necessary, add a bit of cream to thin it back to desired consistency.

With thanks to Once Upon a Chef for inspiration of this recipe!

butternut-sweet-potato-soup-3

Butternut, Sweet Potato and Apple Soup

By Published: Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8Serving size: Calories per serving: Fat per serving: Ingredients: Thinly-sliced butter, onion(s), butternut squash, sweet potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, apple: Directions:
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Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Harvest Veggie Stew

Every now and then when our convent dinner is some kind of a one dish meal, Sisters like to have it served right from the big skillet in which it has been cooked. This is especially so as the weather becomes cooler. When we are a little chilled around the edges nothing comforts one as much as a piping hot bowl of savory soup or stew. Today was such a day, cool, wet and rainy out of doors. Warm, dry and welcoming inside, with the aroma of a tasty combination of the day’s harvested vegetables.

Our convent chef has been eager to make a hearty chicken stew with an Italian twist. Using the last of our autumn garden vegetables she produced a most flavorful dish and chose to serve it from the skillet, which gave everyone a warm comforting sense of generously being cared for in a special way. A along with some crusty home baked bread and a beautiful kale salad we shared a dinner which magically lifted our spirits and pleased us all.

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Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Harvest Veggie Stew
SERVINGS
4as a hearty entree, or 6 small bowls
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
as a hearty entree, or 6 small bowls
COOK TIME
80minutes, approx.
PREP TIME
45minutes
READY IN
1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Place the split chicken breasts on the baking sheet, and drizzle them with a little oil, and a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic, drizzle each head with a little oil, plus a pinch of salt and pepper, and wrap each head in a small piece of foil; place on the baking sheet next to the chicken.
  4. Roast the chicken, along with the garlic, for 45 minutes; then allow both to cool until they can be handled.
  5. Once they are cooled, shred the chicken, and set it aside; then, squeeze the roasted garlic from the papers, and using your knife or a fork, make the cloves into a paste; set the paste aside for a moment.
  6. Place a medium-large pot over medium to medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil, plus add in the tablespoon of butter; once melted together, add in the onion and allow it sweat for about 3-4 minutes, until translucent and softened.
  7. To the onion add the roasted garlic “paste”, and stir it in to combine.
  8. Next, add in the diced carrots, parsnips, celery and butternut squash and stir to combine; add in the Italian seasoning, plus a pinch or two of salt and black pepper, and the red pepper flakes, and stir to incorporate.
  9. Add in the tomato paste and stir, and allow it to cook with the vegetables for about 2-3 minutes, or until the “raw” flavor of it is cooked out of it.
  10. Next, add in the chicken stock and stir, cover with a lid and simmer very gently on low for about 20-22 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender.
  11. Turn off the heat, if using; add in the kale and stir to incorporate it, and allow it wilt into the soup for a few minutes; then, finish the soup by adding in the shredded chicken, the basil and the parsley (also, check your seasoning at this point to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed).
  12. To serve, add about ¼ cup or so of cooked gnocchi to your bowl, and ladle some of the stew over top; garnish with some grated Parmesan, if desired, and serve with warm bread.

Crispy Baked Seafood PattiesVegetable and Lentil Soup from a Monastery Kitchen

Vegetable and Lentil Soup from a Monastery Kitchen

Our Lenten journey has begun.  The church has been dressed in violet and our promises to God for these forty days have been made.  The chants for the season speak of hope, transformation and a return to God.  In the monastery, it is traditional to simplify life, not only in our work but also in our attitudes and our eating.  Many monastic houses fast from meat during Lent – a simple soup and bread for lunch and dinner are the norm.  As we harvest the last of our winter squash from our garden, this simple yet hearty soup is the perfect beginning to this special season of the church year.

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Vegetable and Lentil Soup from a Monastery Kitchen
SERVINGS
6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
25minutes
PREP TIME
45minutes
READY IN
75minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Add the diced leeks, celery, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash and a small amount of the dill and parsley and sauté until golden and the vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat so the vegetables are sauteing, but not burning.
  2. Add the lentils and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
  3. Add 6 cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  4. Cook for about 8 min. over medium heat, simmer, but do not boil.
  5. Add the diced zucchini and continue simmering until the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are softened, about 15 min.
  6. Remove from heat and add the baby spinach, the herbs and the lemon zest and juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin stuffed with Vegetables and Cheese

I love fall — just the smells hanging in the air fills me with a sense of adventure.  Woody smoke, apples, root vegetables, leaves burning…it is all there beckoning us to pay attention.  The other day, the Sisters were given a very generous donation of pumpkins from a local nursery.   It was a beautiful sight seeing them lining our walk in all different shapes and sizes.  Being the thrifty sort and hating to see anything go to waste, I knew we must use these not just to beautify our property, but to eat before they went bad.  When I got the call that a lunch was needed to feed our community of 200 people, I knew just the thing – homemade pumpkin soup –  Delightful!  We set about cutting the pumpkins into large chunks, roasting them in the oven, and then transferring them to our skillet where we turned it all into a yummy creamy pumpkin soup.  When we were all done, we still had pumpkins left over!  (It felt a bit like the feeding of the 5000!).  I remembered that a friend, returning from Italy, had brought me a wonderful recipe of a whole, roasted pumpkin layered with ham, sautéed vegetables and cheese.  It’s a perfect recipe to try at this time of year, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner.

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Pumpkin stuffed with Vegetables and Cheese
SERVINGS
6-8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1 hr30 min
PREP TIME
30min
READY IN
2hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash the pumpkin
  2. Preheat oven to 375°
  3. Cut the head of the pumpkin, making an incision horizontally about 2 inches down from the stem
  4. Place the top back on the pumpkin, wrap it in tin foil and place in a preheated oven for about one hour or until the pumpkin is almost fork tender.
  5. Remove from oven, let it cool slightly and remove the seeds. With the spoon, gently remove some of the flesh from inside the pumpkin and reserve.
  6. Generously salt and pepper the interior of the pumpkin.
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and add the butternut squash and parsnips. Sprinkle with kosher or onion salt and pepper.
  8. When they are partially cooked, remove from the skillet
  9. Add onions and peppers to the same skillet, again sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  10. Once they have cooked a few minutes, add the mushrooms, followed by the zucchini, a few minutes later. Sautéing slightly.
  11. While the vegetables are cooking, grate your cheese and set aside and slice your ham into thin strips.
  12. Once the vegetables are prepared, in the cavity of your pumpkin, start layering in this order: ham, baby spinach, assorted vegetables, the reserved pumpkin, swiss cheese, parmesan cheese and repeat – two or three times, ending with cheese.
  13. Place the top on the pumpkin, place the pumpkin in a casserole dish or cast iron skillet, and return to the oven for about 45 min. or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. Let rest a few minutes and slice when ready to serve.

Andiamo Mangiare!
For a meal, serve this with homemade bread or rolls and a salad.

Butternut Squash Soup

Every Saturday we gather as a community to work for the morning, caring for the Community buildings and grounds — cleaning the church, cooking in the kitchen, mowing, raking, working on various building and maintenance projects. It’s a good time of fellowship and work. These past two Saturdays we had all-day affairs which we called Oktoberfest —  winterizing gardens, pruning, transplanting, and harvesting the last of the vegetables and fruit. The first Saturday was a classic Autumn day, just the way I like it — a little cool, but sun-shiny — that special sparkle that comes in October with the change in the angle of the sun. We all came together to eat lunch and dinner in our refectory. I planned the meals to reflect Oktoberfest traditions; roast pork with apple and onions, German potato salad, braised red cabbage, but I also wanted to include something not so traditional — butternut squash soup, which speaks more to me about autumn than anything else. We made the soup in the big tilting skillet since it was for 250  — using many pounds of squash, onions, and apples and I must say it was delicious! I’ve reduced it down here so that you can enjoy it, too.

Butternut Squash Soup

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Butternut Squash Soup
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
30-40mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in a large stock pot, add onions and thyme, and sauté until onions are tender. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add squash, apples, and stock to pot.
  3. Cook over low heat until squash and apples are very tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth, adding apple cider, and enough stock to make the soup slightly thick.
  5. Pour soup back into pot, reheat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

A Medley Of Roasted Fall Squashes

I have been thinking a lot about pumpkins lately. I think they are the underestimated  vegetable, often relegated to our doorsteps and pies at thanksgiving. When I say to the other sisters that I want to plant pumpkins I get skeptical looks like I am indulging in a hidden sin by taking up garden space for something so frivolous. Of course I can buy canned pumpkin in the store — if I remember to get there before the holiday rush — but what about fresh?  It is a lot of work to peel and seed and reduce down to what we can so easily take out of the can. But did you know that pumpkin is also a great squash for roasting and enjoying with roast chicken, turkey, pork or Cornish hen? And even better when you do a medley of butternut, acorn and pumpkin?

A Medley of Roasted Fall Squashes

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A Medley Of Roasted Fall Squashes
SERVINGS
6servings
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
servings
COOK TIME
40mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. De-stem pumpkin, cut in half, seed, then cut into wedges about 1 1/4 inch wide.
  2. Repeat with acorn squash and butternut squash (I usually just use the bulb of the butternut and save the rest for soup.)
  3. Mix together melted butter and maple syrup.
  4. Arrange squashes on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with butter/syrup mixture.
  5. Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes until tender.
  6. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.