Chef's Table Recipe: Roasted Apple & Squash Chowder

James Beard House featured chef Matthew Weingarten makes this thick, rich chowder that's refined enough for the Holiday table and hearty enough for a chilly afternoon lunch.

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

4 firm apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 sprigs sage
1 sprig rosemary
1 stick cinnamon
3-4 pieces allspice
3-4 cloves
Zest of one lemon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium kabocha squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 medium celery root, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 onion, diced
1 small poblano pepper, diced
1 dried ancho chile, rehydrated and diced (reserve liquid)
10 garlic cloves, sliced into coins
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup apple cider
2 quarts heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch of smoked paprika

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, coat the apples in the butter and cinnamon. Pour onto a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples to a platter and set aside. Pour wine and water onto the pan and stir up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour into a container and reserve.

Tie sage, rosemary, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and lemon zest in a piece of cheesecloth to make a sachet. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the sachet, and cook until fragrant and the butter has browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the squash, celery, parsnips, celery root, onion, poblano peppeer, ancho chile, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the apple cider and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved liquid from roasting the apples and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and maple syrup and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 30 minutes. Add the smoked paprika and adjust seasoning to taste.

Before serving, fold in the roasted apples and warm through. If the soup is too thick, just add some water to thin it to the desired consistency.

CHEF'S TIPS:

1. If you can't find kabocha squash, butternut or acorn squash will do fine. Use one butternut or 2 acorn squash for this recipe.

2. If you don't have cheesecloth to make the sachet, you can substitute ½ teaspoon ground allspice and ½ teaspoon ground cloves can be added and the cinnamon stick, rosemary, and sage can be tied together and dropped in so they can be conveniently removed later on.


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