It’s fall, y’all. Apparently, that is how I have to say it now that the military has relocated us to the south. Whether you call the north, south, east or west home, a change of season is in the air.
Close your eyes and picture the smells and scents of fall, like apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, squash, slow cooker meals, roasted vegetables and hearty dishes that fill your belly. I know, I know. Somewhere in your imaginary fall food landscape also resides the ever-so-popular pumpkin spice latte.
Don’t get me wrong, I also love a PSL — that’s what us basic girls call a pumpkin spice latte — but for now, I am going to set artificially-flavored ingredients aside and serve you actual real food with actual real ingredients of cranberries, apples, pesto and more.
Today we are going to make a luxuriously rich and velvety roasted butternut squash soup with a fall harvest fruit panini. This is one of my husband’s favorites, and the two go really well together. Of course, you do not have to make both at the same time, but I highly recommend it.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
2 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-2-inch cubes
1 sweet onion, sliced into 1-inch thick medallions
4 small or 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cut into large pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
2-3 “thumbs” ginger
6-9 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can full fat Thai coconut milk (or heavy whipping cream)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
A pinch of cayenne
Begin by cutting the fruits and vegetables to the sizes specified above.
Bake in the oven at 400 F for 60 minutes, turning occasionally if anything on the edges or tops browns too much.
Once everything has roasted in the oven, carefully scoop about half into a powerful quality blender (like a Vitamix) and puree with half of the vegetable broth. Transfer the contents of a blender to a large pot.
Continue this process again with the second half of the vegetables and the other two cups of vegetable broth, also emptying into a pot.
On medium heat, add the canned coconut milk to the pot. I mentioned above that you can use half and half or heavy whipping cream. Those are totally fine substitutes, but I really love the flavor the coconut milk adds.
Add the maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne and continue to stir on a low medium heat for 20 minutes or so, until all of the flavors have cooked together.
FALL HARVEST FRUIT PANINI
1 loaf sliced sourdough bread
1 cup pesto (I have a great one on the blog if you want to check it out)
1-2 Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (give or take)
1 package of turkey lunch meat
8 ounces smoked gouda
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, pre-sliced into medallions
Butter for bread
Begin by spreading a thin layer of butter onto one side of the bread.
Combine pesto and mayo in a small bowl. Spread the pesto mayo onto the non-buttery side of the bread.
Lightly sprinkle some cranberries onto one pesto side and thinly sliced apples onto the other.
Add sliced gouda onto one side and fresh mozzarella onto the other.
Pick either side for the turkey to go on and add to a pan that is on medium-low heat, or a panini press if you have one. Cook until the cheese is all melty and ooey gooey and press together.
Cut down the middle and serve with soup.