Happy first day of October!
I am sad to see September go (it may be my favorite month of the whole year), but I’m happy that October has arrived. It’s like…one more month in this crazy year is done.
I am kicking off the month with the most cliche-but-delicious bowl of fall flavors you can imagine.
Butternut squash. Duh.
Hard apple cider. Um, yes please.
And homemade croutons flavored with sage butter (YES!) and everything seasoning (I’m salivating).
It is a bowl of cozy and perfect for true fall weather.
I love this time of year in the Northeast because you have the best of both worlds: chilly mornings and evenings and warm days with no humidity! It is glorious. We’ve had absolutely spectacular weather here lately, save for a day or two of rain and humidity. When it’s good, it’s REALLY good.
When I wake up before dawn, I feel a chill as I crawl out of our warm bed, pull on sweats or leggings and a cozy top, and head downstairs for that first lovely cup of coffee. I immediately start craving warming and cozy things. Like slippers. And apple cider donuts covered in cinnamon sugar. Mid-day lattes. Bowls of chilis and stews and soups. Scarfs. Bonfires. Mulled cider. Apple crisp. Fleece-lined everything.
It is my favorite time of the year, and even though I eat soup all year, I can officially do so now and not be judged! It’s soup season, friends!
This recipe is so delicious and fun. I love adding the apple and hard apple cider to an otherwise straightforward and savory butternut squash soup. They add great flavor and some sweetness (but not too much!) and echo all those wonderful fall flavors. Butternut and apple are a match made in heaven. They spruce each other up. Apple adds some sweetness and brightness and squash brings the cozy creaminess. SO. GOOD.
Whenever I make a creamy soup like this without much texture, I have to top it with something crunchy. Something to give it heft. Otherwise, Dan deems it not a true meal. Soup, in his mind, is an appetizer. When I serve it as the main course, I often need to beef it up for him with some sort of accompanying carb to top it with or dip in it. Croutons are one of our fave soup toppers, and these are a dream!
I toss these with a little sage butter (it’s basically liquid gold) and tons of “everything” seasoning. The combo is fab! If you don’t have or like “everything” seasoning, you could sub in some garlic and onion powders and maybe a pinch of dried herbs to mix well with the fresh sage. But! I highly recommend the “everything” seasoning. It adds so much crazy-good flavor. You can find it at most grocery stores now or you can make your own.
Plus, it looks fun sprinkled on top of everything!
This is the sort of soup that I love eating this time of year. It’s interesting and flavorful enough to keep my husband happy. It’s full of cozy, fall flavors. And it comes together easily!
Oh, and it also freezes like a dream. Because I cook so darn much for this blog and for my photography clients, I always have an overabundance of food almost at all times. I often pack up freezer containers of soups like this one and dole them out to family members. This one, in particular, freezes perfectly.
To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely to room temperature and then ladle into individual freezer-safe containers. I pop a label on the containers and put them in the fridge. They’ll keep for at least three months in the freezer.
Then, in December, when I’m freezing and in need of some comfort, I can pull one of the containers out for lunch and defrost it in the microwave.
See? I’m pampering my present and future selves simultaneously. Winning.
Happy soup season, friends!Print
This Butternut Squash & Hard Apple Cider Soup with Everything-Sage Croutons is a bowl of fall cozy! A little bit sweet, a little bit creamy, and a lot of comfort. The croutons are flavored with sage butter and “everything” seasoning for tons of flavor and texture – a must when it comes to creamy soup toppings!
For the Soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 (12 oz) bottle hard apple cider (see Note)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 apple, diced (I like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith for this)
- 16 oz peeled and cubed butternut squash
- ½ cup half-and-half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Sage-Everything Croutons:
- 5 cups cubed baguette (or other crusty bread)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon “everything” seasoning, plus extra for servings
- ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Soup:
- Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add the oil and butter.
- Add in the onion, garlic, sage, spices, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the onion and garlic soften.
- Stream in the hard cider and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the hard cider is reduced by about half.
- Add in the broth, along with another bit of salt and black pepper, and then bring to a simmer. Add the squash and apple and simmer the soup over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender and almost falling apart.
- Use an immersion blender or transfer the soup, in batches, to a regular blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Return the soup to the pot and stir in the half-and-half. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
For the Croutons:
- While the soup is simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Spread the cubed bread out in an even layer on a large baking sheet.
- In a small saucepan, heat together the oil and butter over medium heat. Add in the “everything” seasoning and fresh sage leaves, cook for a few seconds, and remove from the heat.
- Pour the butter mixture over the bread cubes and toss with a spatula to evenly coat everything. Sprinkle a little bit more “everything” seasoning over top of the croutons and then transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the croutons are crisp and golden.
Serve the soup garnished with the croutons and crispy sage leaves. I do an extra shake of the everything seasoning as well – I just love it so!
- If you want to keep this alcohol free, omit the hard cider and sub in 1 cup of apple cider and an extra ½ cup of broth OR an extra 1½ cups of broth.
- This soup freezes really well. To freeze, cool the soup completely to room temperature and then ladle into freezer-safe airtight containers. Label and freeze for up to six months.
- Category: soup
Keywords: butternut squash and hard apple cider soup, butternut squash and apple soup, butternut squash and apple soup, everything bagel croutons, everything bagel sage croutons, fall soup recipes