Now that we’re in the midst of Fall, like many people, I often get a craving for thick, hearty soups that warm the body and comfort the soul.
Recently, thanks to Braun Thermometers, I had the opportunity to attend a cooking class by Seasons 52 Executive Chef Russell Johnigan at their Westfield Century City location. It was there that I learned the secret to a wonderful savory soup without any of the cream or butter that’s found in most hearty Fall soups… and I’m excited to share it with you!
The secret ingredient in this recipe is the tart apples that balance the sweet richness of the butternut squash, all while giving the soup great body.
After Chef Russell graciously showed us his culinary ways and we got to taste the final product, I was amazed at how luxurious the soup tasted without adding much fat. I also love that this soup is completely vegetarian, and heck, it can even be vegan!
What’s also really cool is that all items on the Seasons 52 menu are under 475 calories, and the smaller portions are under 275 calories. They also change up their menu throughout the year as ingredients go in and out of peak season.
It’s a place you can go to feel fully satisfied and also good about your choices at the end of your meal, and I’ve always felt that way when dining there.
So here it is, my new go-to hearty but healthy fall recipe, courtesy of Seasons 52 Executive Chef Russell Johnigan:
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
1 whole butternut squash – about 4½ cups, packed
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled & diced into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 quart low sodium vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 apple, washed & cut in small slivers
1 dollop sour cream, reduced fat
1 pinch chives, finely sliced
1 pinch pumpkin seeds, toasted
• Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and spoon out seeds.
• Place squash halves and apples on foil-lined cookie tray, cut side up. Combine sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture evenly over squash. Roast squash and apples for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until able to handle. Scoop pulp from skins. Reserve pulp for soup.
• Heat oil in soup pot at medium heat. Add apples, onion and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and sweet. Add vegetable stock. Stir in cooked squash pulp. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Add Tabasco, honey and salt. Puree in a blender until smooth.
• To serve, garnish the puree with any combination of: apple slivers, sour cream, chives, toasted pumpkin seeds.
Tanaya’s Table note: I also love using crème fraîche atop soups, and imagine that this soup would be wonderful served with a dollop to stir in. When making this soup at home, I also added a little sriracha sauce to the mix. The soup is a great base to improvise with, depending on what you’ve got and how creative you want to get!
After savoring the soup, we also learned Chef Russell’s secrets to creating a juicy Roast Chicken, and his tips on how to properly use a thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken.
The takeaway: make sure you insert the thermometer on the meatiest parts, and whatever you do, don’t let the meter touch the bone. This causes it to read a higher temperature, falsely indicating that your chicken has been cooked long enough.
Luckily, while it may be a little complicated to properly take the temperature of your chicken, Braun’s new no-touch forehead thermometer makes it super easy to take the temperature of those special humans in your life. Because keeping your children at the right temperature is just as important as keeping your chicken at the right temperature!
We got to try out the nifty new thermometers on one another, and everyone was amazed at how accurate the thermometer was when reading from up to 2 inches away from the forehead versus when making direct contact! Amazing.
This is the latest technology out there, and with cold & flu season upon us, it definitely makes life a lot easier to know you can quickly and accurately gauge your loved ones’ temperatures. You can find out more on the Braun website. The best part is that the indicator reads within seconds and lights up green, yellow or red indicating the severity of the fever.
We learned all this while devouring the chicken with an onion jus that Chef Russell had whipped up for us. Stay tuned for the Seasons 52 roast chicken recipe… here’s to staying well this holiday season!