Fall Staples: Butternut Squash Soup and Grilled Cheese (With a Twist)

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Last year, I wrote about my affinity for fall, so I’ll spare you on a deep dive into the basic details this time around. Usually the first weekend of October signals its time to accumulate colorful pumpkins and gourds to decorate our home, while the smell of my mom’s butternut squash soup wafts through the apartment. Oh, and college football is always the soundtrack of choice in the background.

This year, I felt a little weird gearing up to decorate because of warmer than normal temperatures, but I ultimately decided to drag Jake to the store to schlep pumpkins home nonetheless. However, I did end up holding off on cooking my mom’s soup because of the heat.  A couple of weekends later, it was still a little toasty, but I decided the soup needed to happen before a business trip to NYC. This gave Jake and I an opportunity to spend quality time with two of our close friends before I left. An added bonus? Jake was armed with leftovers for the week while I was away. Wins all around!

We topped my mom’s soup with prosciutto crisps (recipe borrowed from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook) and paired it with Skinnytaste‘s grilled cheese with havarti, Brussels sprouts, and apple. The fall twist on classic grilled cheese was delicious and a great way to celebrate seasonal ingredients.

Recipes are below. Hope you enjoy and happy fall, all!

Yommy’s Butternut Squash Soup
Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 to 2.5 hours

Tools:
Sharp knife
Baking sheet
Parchment paper or aluminum foil
Dutch oven or heavy soup pot
Food processor or blender

Ingredients:
1 2 lb. butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil; more for roasting squash
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juices
3 cups low salt chicken broth
1 tbsp plain yogurt or heavy cream per serving for garnish (I usually skip this)
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley for garnish

1. Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil; Cut the squash in half lengthwise; Use soup spoon to scoop out seeds and scrape out strings from hollow; Rub the cut surfaces with a little olive oil; season generously with salt and pepper; Roast on prepared baking sheet, cut side up until deeply browned and very tender— about 80 to 90 minutes; Let cool

2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and the butter in a heavy soup pot set over medium heat

3. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp of salt and sauté for 2 minutes and then cover and let sweat until translucent, about 3 mins; Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes

4. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 30 seconds

5. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, season with a few grinds of pepper, and cook for 2 minutes; Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes

6. Peel the roasted squash and add the flesh to the pot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon

7. Add the chicken broth, cover, and bring to a simmer; Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, covered for 30 minutes

8. Let cool slightly and purée batches in a blender or food processor

9. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed

10. Return soup to pot and stir occasionally over low heat until hot

11. Garnish each serving with spoonful of yogurt or a drizzle of cream (or skip and top with prosciutto crisp) and sprinkling of parsley

Prosciutto Crisps
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 11 to 13 minutes

Tools:
Baking Sheet
Parchment paper

Ingredients:
As many pieces of thin-sliced prosciutto as you want

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; Line the baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Arrange the prosciutto in a single layer on the baking sheet; Bake until wrinkled and slightly shrunken, 11 to 13 minutes (it will crisp as it cools)

                      If you have extra prosciutto crisps, use them to top salads

Skinnytaste’s Grilled Cheese with Havarti, Brussels Sprouts, and Apple
Serves: 2
Prep time: 10-20 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Tools:
Grill pan or skillet
Spatula
Food processor

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped shallot
2 cups thinly shredded Brussels sprouts (put the Brussel sprouts halved in a food processor and pulse a few of times)
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil spray or a mister
4 slices whole wheat Tuscan bread
4 ounces light Havarti cheese, shredded (I used slices)
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute; Add Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to taste, and increase the heat to medium-high; Cook, stirring, until the sprouts are crisp and slightly browned on the edges, about 5 minutes; Remove the pan from the heat

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium-low heat; Spray one side of each slice of bread with olive oil and place 2 sides, oiled side down, into the skillet; Top each piece of bread with 1 ounce of the cheese; Divide the Brussels Sprouts between the bread slices, then add a layer of apple slices and the remaining cheese; Top with the remaining bread, oiled side up, and cook until the bottom piece of the bread is golden, 4 to 5 minutes

3. Using a spatula, carefully flip the sandwiches over; Cook until the second slices of bread are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes; Serve immediately

**Note: I cut the sandwiches in half and served each person a half of sandwich, plus a large bowl of soup. Up to you on serving sizes for soup and sandwich!

     Not the prettiest of pictures, but we all can’t live a Pinterest life sometimes!

What are your favorite fall recipes? Please share in the comment section below!

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