By Mark Steele, Executive Chef, Algonquin College
It’s Fall Harvest Time…
What to do with all those apples!??
One of the things that I love about the Fall is the bounty of fresh apples plucked right from the orchard. If you have not been to a local area farm lately to experience this special treat first hand, what are you waiting for? The Ottawa Valley has a multitude of family friendly farms where you can pick your own fruit for a small fee.
This time of year, I always end up with more freshly picked apples than I could ever possibly eat on their own. But with a little creativity in the kitchen, I have no problem using up my apple stash in pleasing and sometimes surprising ways.
Take this Candied Butternut Squash & Apple Soup, which features ginger, maple syrup, and of course, apples. I recently made this at home using fresh McIntosh apples, which resulted in a smooth and subtle flavour. However, don’t hesitate to experiment with other varieties which may add more of a zip or a zing to the overall effect.
And if you’re like me, I can’t have a bowl of soup without some bread on side. My preference is a homemade loaf of jalapeño and cheddar bread with a little butter, but I’d be remiss not to mention Art-is-in Bakery’s version, which is hands down the best in the city.
Candied Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
- 1 butternut squash – peeled, seeded & diced
- 4 apples –cored, peeled and medium-diced (from your favorite orchard)
- 1 large Spanish onion -peeled & medium-diced
- 1 large carrot – peeled & medium-diced
- 2 cloves of garlic – peeled & minced
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 150 ml maple syrup
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- 200 ml cream 35%
- 3 litres chicken stock
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- Clean, peel, core & dice all vegetables.
- Toss butternut squash & carrots with maple syrup and salt & pepper.
- Place squash & carrot on parchment paper and roast in oven at 400 degrees until caramelized roughly 20 minutes.
- Melt butter in large stockpot and sweat onions, garlic & ginger.
- Add flour to form roux.
- Add chicken stock 500 ml at a time whisking constantly then add cream.
- Add apples and caramelized squash & carrots to soup and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt & pepper then add nutmeg.
- Puree soup with a hand blender until smooth and serve.
After graduating from the Culinary Program at C.O.N.A. (College of the North Atlantic), Mark worked at four different Fairmont properties over 10 years and later owned a fine dining restaurant.
Mark joins us from his last stint as Executive Chef for Hilton Hotels.