Butternut Squash Apple and Leek Soup
2 Tbs butter
1 large leek sliced and rinsed of all grit/sand
2 medium apples peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery sliced
1 large butternut squash cubed
2 carrots peeled and sliced
2 Tbs apple whiskey (optional)
1 cup of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
4 cups stock or water, warmed
1/2 tsp kosher salt white pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped roasted nuts (cashews, macadamia, sliced almonds)
Melt butter over medium heat, add sliced leeks and turn to low. Melt leeks over low heat for 10 minutes until nicely softened and fragrant. Add celery and apple and salt and season with white pepper and stir. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and carrots and stir.
Turn heat up to medium high. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Deglaze with optional apple whiskey and stir well. Allow alcohol to evaporate for 1-2 minutes and add cider or juice and stock or water.
Turn heat to medium low and allow to simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes. Once all vegetables are soft, turn heat off and blend soup using a stick blender, stand blender or food processor until smooth consistency is achieved. Note: if using stand blender or food processor, puree in batches and return to pot. If soup is too thick, thin with warm stock or water.
Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Re-warm soup and ladle into warm bowls. Top with chopped nuts and any other garnish desired.
Additional garnish ideas: lightly whipped spiced cream, fried leeks, diced sautéed apples, carrot or apple chips