Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 4, 2008

Books and Butternut Squash

At our local Friends of the Library book sale last weekend, it was fun to see people walk off smiling over armfuls of old dear books. As I was taking my turn doing sales, one neighbor pointed out, “And you get to see what people read.” Yes, he had me pinned down: nosy. It was fun to spend the day with our librarian, Chris, and the other two on our small board. I set up a time to walk with Jeanne, and Sara brought along kids and their cousins to help move books. At the end of the day, they rolled away cartons on a handcart, then took turns rolling back each other. I guess you have to be under four feet or so and hardy to enjoy this, but they certainly did.

I missed watching Fiona make wreaths at the Harvest Fair next door – it was too wet for the herbs and flowers – but Sara’s husband sat under their tent with mums, pumpkins, butternut squash, and other bounty. He swiftly decorated the library steps with leftover mums at the day’s end, and gave us some squash: peeled and seeded, just the way I like it. The only thing better than going home with some good books is heading back with books AND squash. And while we didn’t earn enough to do anything about our beautiful library’s problematic basement, (which we never expected to) we made a good dent in the budget for next summer’s children’s reading program, which was our goal.

I mentioned making soup yesterday to lorrainemt and she asked for my recipe. This is my favorite, quite adaptable to changing proportions, and I recommend an immersion blender for puree-ing. That leaves you with just one pot to clean. This makes a good supper, with bread or salad, and I often serve it at Thanksgiving, or mainstay for those opposed to turkey. You can pop on a bit of parsley or roasted walnuts.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
3 tablespoons butter
5 cups half-inch cubes peeled and seeded squash
1 cup shopped onion
half cup chopped carrots
half cup chopped celery
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (about one cup)
half teaspoon allspice and/or nutmeg
three and a half cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
1 cup milk (or if you want it richer, cream or half and half)
salt and pepper

Melt the butter. Add vegetables and sauté about ten minutes till soft. Add apple, spices, broth, and cider. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Puree. Add milk till desired thickness.



  1. mmmm — I love butternut squash soup!
    you’ve inspired me to get squash today at the farmer’s market and try this version!

  2. Thanks! Looks like a gorgeous day for the farmer’s market. The trend of pre-peeling and seeding makes squash soup so much more attractive to me — I can keep my fingers out of the way while dicing, but those skins — and my farmer friend said the cows adore those slimy seeds.

  3. This recipe looks so good. We love butternut squash! Good thing my husband is an expert peeler. Thanks for posting this, Jeannine!

  4. That’s very similar to my favorite squash soup recipe. I hadn’t thought of arnishing it with walnuts, but that sounds delish and I’ll definitely going to give it a whirl.

  5. Oh yum, it looks heavenly…and with walnuts and parsley too! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Guess what I picked in my garden today??? Yup. Butternut squash.
    I’m definitely trying this soup! Thanks!

  7. On the rare times I post recipes, I always think of you, Jama: the bar is high! Yay for your husband wielding a peeling device! That is my least favorite part: somehow with knife and my concentration ability is a dangerous combo.

  8. Yes, squash soup recipes can be pretty basic — this, I think, is simple but also good. If you put the walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, it really brings out their flavor. And smells good!

  9. Thanks for asking!!

  10. Ah, from the soup tsar or princess or sister or whatever you and Debbi are these days! It is easier than some of the things you tried, I think, and forgiving re proportions. And so pretty, so fall: we have to celebrate what we can these frosty nights!

  11. Thanks Jeannine, I’m going to try this recipe. I have a load of butternut squash harvested from my garden if you want more.

  12. Thanks, Dina — I like a forgiving recipe, as most soups are; you can play with spices if you like, or change proportions some.
    Sure, I’d love a squash or two! I’m not organized enough to try to stop today, but maybe on another or when we meet. I know they keep, but hope they’re not in your way.

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