Our weekend recipe is a show-stopping first course that’s accented with the flavors of sweet apples and sage.

The soup starts with canned organic chicken broth as its base, something even top restaurant chefs use when they prepare meals at home. For example, Chef Christopher Lee, executive chef at Aureole in New York City, uses ready-made stocks and broths in his home kitchen.

One important cooking note: There is a subtle, yet significant, difference between stock and broth, Chef Lee reminds readers. Stock keeps meat dishes juicy and enhances their natural flavors. Broth is a highly seasoned base that’s best for soups and side dishes.

All of the ingredients in today’s recipe should be available at your local natural and organic food store. Prep time is 20 minutes, and cook time is 25 minutes.

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups organic chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
12 fresh sage leaves

Heat oil in saucepot over medium heat. Add squash, apples and onion, and cook until almost tender. Stir in sugar, coriander and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes.

Add broth. Heat to a boil. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until squash is tender.

Place cooked squash mixture in food processor, using a slotted spoon. Cover and blend until smooth, adding enough cooking liquid to make soup of desired consistency.

Heat butter in small skillet. Add sage and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve butter in skillet.

Divide soup among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with sage butter, and garnish with fried sage leaves.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Swanson Broth