Winter Squash Soup with Apples
1 winter squash (about 3 lbs.).
3 slender leeks (or 1 1/2 larger leeks), white part only, split lengthwise and washed
3 cups whole milk
3 cups water
Salt, freshly ground pepper and grated nutmeg
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and cut into tiny dice
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
Wash your squash well. Cut off the pointy tip and then cut the squash in half, from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds and strings from the center and then cut the squash into 1 - 2 inch cubes, peel and all. If your squash is a sweet dumpling, delicata, or red kuri, you can use it without peeling, as long as you cook it long enough to make the peel soft. Butternut and Kabocha squash have thicker peels and you may have to peel them.
Put the squash into a large casserole dish or Dutch oven. Cut the leeks into inch slices and put them in the pot too. Add the milk and water and cook the soup on the stove top for 25 -35 minutes until the squash is completely soft. Using an immersion blender (or a food processor or regular blender), purée the soup until very smooth. Add the seasonings. At this point you can leave it very thick or thin it with more milk or water. Spoon the apples and nuts into the bottom of your soup bowl and ladle hot soup over the top. Top with a bit of cream or crème fraiche.
Recipe adapted from Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan