Bourbon Apple Butternut Soup with Roasted Kale and Pumpkin Seeds Recipe


Kale, Glorious Kale 100 Recipes for Nature's Healthiest GreenThe combination of kale and butternut is a good one, especially enhanced with apples and a hint of bourbon. I had planned to add some cream, but happily, none was needed. The finishing touch is crispy kale roasted with pumpkin seeds and fresh cranberries, which all gives a crunchy, tart contrast to the smooth, pureed soup.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (large dice) (from 1 medium butternut squash)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 whole leek, all parts, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced (a little over 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 0.33 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut in half or into quarters
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups kale (½ bunch, stripped from stalk, chopped into bite-size pieces, and rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh cranberries
How to Make It
  1. Melt the butter in a soup pot and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, carrots, and leek and sauté on medium to medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often to cook all sides of the squash. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for about 30 additional seconds, until fragrant.
  2. Turn up the heat a bit and add the bourbon, and let the alcohol cook off, about 1 minute. Add the water, apples, and 1 teaspoon of the salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, and cook covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash and carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Let cool for 5 or so minutes before blending.
  3. Process the soup, in batches, in a blender until smooth and creamy, or use an immersion blender to puree. (Take care when blending a hot soup by filling the container only two-thirds full, placing a kitchen towel over the blender top, and blending from low to high speed.) If the soup is too thick, add some water to thin it a bit. Taste for seasoning and add more salt by the pinches, until really flavorful. Add a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F while the soup is cooking, and roast the kale. Place the pieces of kale on the baking sheet. Add the olive oil and knead into the kale. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crispy, but not browned, stirring a few times. When the kale is done, or on another baking sheet, place the pumpkin seeds, seasoned with a pinch or two of salt, and the cranberries, and roast until the seeds are roasted and the cranberries are softened somewhat, 6 to 7 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls, and top each with the garnish of about 2 tablespoons of the oven-roasted kale (breaking apart if needed), some of the pumpkin seeds, and three or four roasted cranberries. Place any remaining toppings in bowls at the table for people to replenish or munch on.

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