Recipe by Chef Josh Silvers, down home: downtown
Makes 8 first-course servings
Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
1 butternut squash (about 21⁄2 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 slice apple wood–smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 to 4 peeled cloves garlic
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
6 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup apple cider or juice
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup crème fraîche for drizzling
Smoked Paprika Oil
1 teaspoon Spanish Smoked sweet paprika
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the cut sides of the squash with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, place cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, then scoop the flesh into a bowl.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and apples. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the squash, chicken broth, and apple juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until apples are very tender, 30 minutes.
For the paprika oil: Heat the paprika and vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring until the paprika is blended into the oil. Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small pitcher and set aside.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with crème fraîche and a drizzle of the paprika oil.
Photography by Alan Campbell Photography