The temperatures are still mild in most parts of the United States, but cooler weather will be here before we know it. Cool temperatures also bring hearty pots of soups, many featuring flavors from autumn vegetables like butternut squash, leeks, potatoes and cabbage. When traveling though Ireland in autumn, you know a good bowl of soup is always on the itinerary, so keep these recipes handy when temperatures fall and thoughts turn to home!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

SERVES 8 to 10

5 tablespoons butter

1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 leek (white part only), chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves

4 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1 cup apple cider

Salt

Ground black pepper

1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Croutons, for garnish

Steps:

     1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add squash, leeks, carrot, and celery and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browned. Stir in apples, thyme, and sage.

     2. Add stock and cider and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender. Let cool.

     3. Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and process until smooth. (May be prepared to this point 1 day ahead). Return soup to pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to simmer and stir in cream.

     4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with chives and croutons.

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Tags: Baking, Cooking, Desserts, Irish Kitchen, Irish cooking, Meals, Recipes

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