While John Chapman is perhaps the best known ambassador of the apple — a folk hero with an eye for orchards — the fruits that Johnny “Appleseed” brought to the frontier at that time weren’t usually grown for eating or baking pies. In fact, they were called “spitters,” because that was usually what someone would do if they ate one of Johnny’s apples.
Johnny Appleseed’s apples typically were used to make hard cider – or booze, which might give his folk status a bit of an edge.
While alcoholic cider has made a big comeback in recent years, there are, of course, many other uses for the apple. (And if you need a list, Food Network lays out 50 examples here.) But Stephanie Nye (formerly Burchiel), a farmers’ market favorite, has a unique soup that uses apples as an ingredient. With September now upon us, we figure this is a good time to dig into fall recipes, and butternut apple soup is the first mentioned in Nye’s book, Central Coast Farmers Market Soups. While fall is the best time for a variety of apples, Nye (pictured above, far right) recommends Granny Smith, Fuji and Gala apples for this one, along with a choice of squash.
“Each year, I see new varieties of hard shell squashes in the markets, each a little different in flavor and texture but all with the ability to create an aroma in the oven that announces the fall harvest is upon us,” she writes.
Farmers’ market squashes — be they butternut, pumpkins or kabochas — are best, she writes, because they are so fresh. Here’s the recipe:
1 large butternut squash (or other large, winter squash), roasted and skinned.
1 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
1 each Granny Smith apple and Fuji or Gala apple
1 cup unfiltered apple juice of apple cider
1/3 cup Arborio rice
1 cup celery, chopped
1 tsp. each, nutmeg and cinnamon, freshly ground
2 tablespoons ginger, fresh, peeled and chopped
1 cup of walnuts, roasted lightly and pureed into a cream
7-8 cups of autmn stock
1/4 cups of grape seed oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Begin the soup, in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, she recommends, by heating grape seed oil on medium high heat, then add onions and saute until golden brown.
Find Nye’s soups at the Morro Bay farmers’ market (in the Spencer’s parking lot), Thursdays, from 2:30-5 p.m.