(Loving Living Local) – Susan had the pleasure of being joined by renowned chef and author Chef Natasia Staten.

Chef Staten introduced a delightful recipe for Apple & Butternut Squash Soup, providing a unique twist to accommodate those who may not typically enjoy butternut squash.
Her approach involved using more apples than squash to create a nice blend of flavors.

The was as follows:

  1. The chef heated approximately 2-3 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil in a pot.
  2. Carrots were introduced into the pot, contributing both flavor and vibrant color.
  3. Red onions joined the mix to infuse sweetness into the soup.
  4. Chef Staten then added diced Granny Smith apples, known for their tartness, enhancing the overall taste profile.
  5. To prevent apple discoloration, she drizzled lemon juice over them and stirred the ingredients.
  6. Cinnamon was incorporated to provide a warm and spicy note to the soup.
  7. Nutmeg was introduced for a touch of earthiness, while cayenne pepper added a touch of Louisiana-inspired heat.
  8. Vegetable stock, approximately 32 ounces, was poured in to form the base of the soup.

This soup was vegan-friendly too!

While the soup simmered, Chef Staten also demonstrated how to prepare cinnamon croutons. She recommended using slightly stale French bread or a similar variety. Here’s how she made them:

  1. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the bread.
  2. Add a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne for a spicy kick.
  3. Thoroughly mix the ingredients to ensure the bread is evenly coated.
  4. Toast the croutons in a preheated oven at 350°F, with vigilant monitoring, as they tend to brown quickly.

As the croutons baked, Chef Staten highlighted that the addition of cinnamon brought a delightful sweetness to these savory croutons, creating a perfect balance with the soup.

Once the croutons were ready, and the soup had simmered to perfection, Chef Staten employed an immersion blender to achieve a smooth, velvety soup consistency. This handy kitchen tool simplified the blending process and proved invaluable.

The final result was a mouthwatering Apple & Butternut Squash Soup that combined the flavors of apples, carrots, onions, and squash with hints of cinnamon and cayenne.

For more of Chef Natasia Staten’s culinary expertise, including additional recipes and cooking tips, follow her on Instagram and Facebook or visit her website.