Smoky flavors, sweet apples, and hard cider make this soup a perfect meal on a crisp fall night.
Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash into large pieces and place on greased cookie sheet skin-side-down. Roast for approximately 40 minutes.
While squash is in the oven, chop onion and peel and chop the apple.
slice bacon cross wise into small pieces and cook in the bottom of a large soup pot. Add the chopped onion, apple, smoked paprika and white pepper. Saute till golden. Add hard cider, vegetable stock, scraping up the bacon bits and simmer on low untill the squash is finished.
When squash is fork-tender, remove from oven, cool and slice off skins. Add butternut squash to soup pot. Let simmer an additional 15-30 minutes.
Remove pot from heat, using an immersion blender puree soup till smooth. Add water if soup is too thick. If you are using a blender - in batches puree soup and transfer to a new pot.
Bring soup back up to a simmer and add shredded cheddar cheese.
Serve with crusty bread and a salad.