Not every fall gathering needs to be formal, stressful, or grand in nature. As a matter of fact, fall is the time of year when people may need a break from big plans the most, opting instead for more casual, relaxed, low-key meals with loved ones. We asked our dear friend (and photographer, stylist, and lifestyle expert) Ted Kennedy Watson for a few pointers for throwing an inviting — and best of all, easy — fall dinner party. To top it all off, he even shared his recipe for one of the season’s tastiest staples: a simple and insanely delicious butternut squash soup that’s sure to make its way into your autumnal repertoire.
Photos, story, and recipe courtesy Ted Kennedy Watson
Having guests over for lunch during the week in the country is always such a treat. Add to that treat falling leaves on a glorious Hudson Valley Autumn day and it is pretty much heaven. This was a simple meal of butternut squash soup with a dollop of crème fraîche, followed by a roast chicken with root vegetables, all sourced from local farm stands and the Hudson Framers Market.
I wasn’t finding tons of flower options that I loved, so I chose a big bunch of kale as the centerpiece of the table. I cut simple grocery store lilies super short and floated them in classic Hyannis Lanterns so the wind wouldn’t blow the flowers over (that, and I like things really low on the table so folks can easily converse and not be fighting with blooms).
I filled my go-to Mason Jar Drink Dispenser with orange slices so water was readily available at the table. Bread (along with a triple-crème cheese) was passed about. Stories were told. Wine was enjoyed. Laughs and more stories were shared. A table filled with new friends we’ve made in the few years since we bought the house. A mid-day meal savored as a light breeze bantered the leaves about, providing all the music that was needed on this fine fall day.
- 1 three-pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade, but boxed is fab too)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
2. In a medium-to-large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
3. To that, add the squash and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Once the squash is cooked-through and tender, carefully transfer the contents of the pot to a blender, then purée. (The consistency should be quite smooth when done.)
5. Return your puréed mixture back to the pot, then season with fresh nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.
6. Heat the soup back to the temperature of your choosing. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, and enjoy!
The Full Menu
- Albert Ponnelle Réserve de la Chèvre Noire
- Orange-Infused Ice Water
- Hawthorne Valley Farm Store Baguette with a Triple-Crème Cheese
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables
- Apple Crisp
That’s one dinner party down, but there are countless more to go! Be sure to follow Ted Kennedy Watson on Instagram for more delicious recipes, party tips, and seasonal inspiration.