What’s better than roasted squash on a fall day? Combine it with some fresh apple cider and make soup.

I was having friends over for dinner two nights this weekend and made up a large batch of this to serve as first courses for both. I don’t often serve full, proper courses for dinner, but I have winter squash hiding out in every corner of my small apartment. And yet, I still buy more. There are so many great varieties and uses, I can contentedly eat it for the next six months.

This soup has an interesting ingredient – Worchestshire sauce. In case you’ve ever wondered -Worcestershire Sauce, dating back to the 19th century, is an English blend of brined anchoviess, tamarinds (an Indian date-like fruit), molasses, garlic, vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots and sugar. It’s an interesting and yet underutilized staple ingredient. So, no wonder, it would add a nice boost to this, and probably, most soups.

Fresh sage helps make this kind of awesome as well. Again, another ingredient I don’t take advantage of often enough. When I do use them, I like to saute them up in a pan with a little oil and fry until crisp. Fried sage leaves would make an excellent garnish to this soup.

Butternut Squash, Apple and Sage Soup

serves 8

4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium )
8-10 sage leaves; chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper
splash of maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot; minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes; or more to taste
splash of heavy cream
1 large apple; finely diced

Preheat oven to 425 F. Halve each butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with sage, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Dot with butter. Roast 45-1 hour until the squash is tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, then scoop out flesh.

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add in shallot and sauté over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in scooped out butternut squash, chicken stock, apple cider, brown sugar, Worcestershire, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender. Return to pot, taste and adjust seasonings. At the last minute, stir in heavy cream and serve garnished with diced apple, fried sage leaves, or a spoonful of Greek yogurt, swirled.

Adapted from thekitchn.com.