When we ring in fall, sometimes it seems that everyone has been holding their breath, awaiting this moment. Even before the official transition to fall, gourds, apples, and squash make their way to the market. Red leaves start appearing on tables, and the warm, cozy autumnal palette unfurls.
I love it. I’m unashamedly a part of this crowd who anticipates the breezy fall, resplendent with root vegetables and everything cozy! And it’s this season that inspired this autumnal tablescape.
In the past, I’ve gone and foraged branches or bought floral arrangements, but this time, I wanted to keep it more simple. I knew I wanted some sort of runner going across the table. I didn’t have one handy, but recently I’ve been in love with textures and playing with subtle changes in shade, so I took out my favorite neutral-gray linens that were well worn, and twisted them together to lay across the table.
I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but I loved the result – almost as if they’re thrown across the table, swapping a starched, ironed feel for a more welcoming casual intimacy. It was exactly what I wanted in this casual autumnal meal. I am serving soup, not a 5 course plated meal!
I then placed these gorgeous apples I got from the farmer’s market that had some leaves attached to them and scattered them across the linen, adding some color and organic elements. And that’s it. If you want to, you can put candles or other fruits in, but I was happy with these textures and colors.
As for plates, I went with a combination from two collections I have – a clear dinner plate to let the warm wood table shine, and a neutral bowl for the soup. Because I knew the soup would be a bright yellow color, I stuck with a dark, cooler dinner napkin.
The soup is composed of two of my favorite fall ingredients: sweet, subtle kabocha and fresh tangy apple. Kabocha is my favorite – it’s subtly sweet, and roasting them gives a caramelized flavor that makes it even deeper and better. The addition of apple gives it a tang that pairs perfectly for this soup. Crisped sage also gives the soup an earthy complement. It’s a bright, cheerful dish, and one that stays in my kitchen all fall and through winter too!
This dish comes together very simply with the help of my new KitchenAid® Compact Oven. This baby has 2 reversible racks to offer a flexibility of height options making it the perfect solution for all your baking and cooking needs. And it uses convection cooking to ensure everything that it makes is cooked to perfection.
To make the soup, preheat your Compact Oven to 400° F. Roast wedges of the kabocha and apple cubes for about 45 minutes to an hour, until easily pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, heat chopped onions over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Then add in the garlic and ginger, cooking this mixture for a few more minutes until the flavors have combined.
When the kabocha is cool enough to handle, remove it from your Compact Oven and scoop out the flesh. Place the kabocha and apple chunks into a saucepan with water and bring everything to a simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper, then puree the mixture with a hand blender until velvety smooth.
Separate the soup into bowls, and garnish with crispy sage leaves and fresh apple chunks. All that’s left to bring to this tablescape are your dear friends and family. Enjoy this fall-inspired tablescape and recipe in your own home!
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Kabocha Apple Sage Soup
Makes 4 servings
For the soup
1 cup diced onion
1-2 kabocha, cut into 1” cubes with skin and seeds removed (roughly 2 1/2 pounds)
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ginger, freshly minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the garnish
Fresh apple cubes
6 sage leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat your KitchenAid® Compact Oven to 400°F. Cut the kabocha into a few wedges and discard seeds. Lightly oil the squash and place onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle apple cubes around the wedges. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until easily pierced with a fork.
In the meantime, heat chopped onions over medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook some more.
When the kabocha is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place into a saucepan with the apple chunks. Add in water and bring everything to a simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper. Then, puree with an immersion blender until velvety smooth. Add more water as desired.
Separate into bowls, and garnish with crispy sage leaves and fresh apple chunks.
To crisp the sage leaves
Heat up olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the sage leaves in one single layer, and fry until crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*