Recipe Corner: Chef Jon Koobation’s Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Fried Sage


This recipe is featured in Cooking With Jon, the engaging cookbook written by award-winning chef Jon Koobation. Jon was the owner and head chef at the acclaimed Jon’s Bear Club in Reedley, California for several decades before he retired. Born in Dinuba, a small farming town in the central San Joaquin Valley, Jon’s history with The Bear Club started many years earlier. He learned his trade on the job, first working as a prep cook and sous chef at major Lake Tahoe-area restaurants before returning to the San Joaquin Valley. He worked at the famed Vallis’ Restaurant in Kingsburg, the Redwood Inn of Sultana, Dinuba Ranch, and the Swedish Mill, and became The Bear Club’s executive chef in 1973. Through the 1970s and 1980s, Jon’s Bear Club established itself as a superb steakhouse that featured excellent food and personable customer service.

“Using the freshest seasonal ingredients and attention to detail when creating each menu item was appreciated by Jon’s Bear Club patrons through the years, and one of the main reasons they chose to return again and again.”

Cooking With Jon is a walk down memory lane about Jon’s family, his car racing history, and his successful career in the restaurant business, interspersed with fascinating stories and anecdotes about growing up in Dinuba. Also included are wonderful photos to complement the recipes. This is a collection of Jon’s signature recipes created for generations of patrons at Jon’s Bear Club like: Charred Asparagus Roll-Ups, Cabernet Braised Short Ribs, New York Steak, Lobster Bisque, Cracked Wheat and Kale Salad, Tortilla Crusted Salmon, Grandma Bazarian’s Shish Kebab and Pilaf, how to make Lemon Ice Cream with Candied Lemon Zest, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and more. Best of all, his recipes are easy to follow and written for today’s home cook.

Butternut squash, or winter squash, is harvested in the fall but it keeps well for several months. It is a good source of fiber, potassium, and several other key nutrients.

One of Jon’s favorite recipes is this savory butternut soup. “It has a very beautiful orange color and smooth texture. And the fried sage is a surprising complement to the sweetness of the squash and tartness of the apples.”


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3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4” cubes

1 medium yellow onion, minced

1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4“ cubes

1/4 teaspoon whole dried thyme

5 cups apple juice

1 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper

2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 ounces cubed butter

Fried Sage:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a sauté pan, add the sage leaves, let them sizzle for a few seconds, turn for another second, then remove to a paper towel to drain.

For the Soup:

After peeling, cut the squash in half, remove the strings and seeds with spoon and discard. In a heavy sauce pan, add the squash, onion, potato, thyme, apple juice. Cook the vegetables until tender. Add the cream and cook another 5 minutes.

Off the heat, blend soup in batches or use an immersion blender and blend until very smooth. At this point, add salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced apples and butter, and stir until the butter in incorporated. Ladle soup into warm bowls topped with fried sage. The apples add a nice bit of texture to the soup.

Serves 6.


Jon is the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award in the California Restaurant Association’s “Best of the Valley” awards. Contact Jon at to order his book and for a personally signed copy. His book is also available for sale at The Market Grocery Store and at Sam’s Deli & Cucina in Fresno, California. Or order his book directly at Amazon Books at:

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