Welcome to our new food series called Eat It Up, where we share the kitchen gadgets and foods that we can’t cook without.

There’s nothing we crave more when it’s cold out than soup paired with a crusty loaf of bread (or a killer grilled cheese). The only issue is that all the prep work can suck hours out of your day — not to mention the massive soup pot can be a b*tch to clean. Enter the Philips Soup Maker ($130).

Available at Williams Sonoma, this new do-it-all gadget is pretty much the ultimate hack for soup. It allows you to make milk or stock-based soups and cooks and purées veggies like a champ, reducing your cooking time by hours. In fact, it can prepare your next meal in as little as 12 to 35 minutes.

The six presets make using this bad boy a cinch. Select your soup type setting — puréed, chunky, compotes, milk-based, or cold soup/smoothies (for gazpacho) — and the rest is a breeze. It also gives the finished product a nice even consistency, thanks to the Z-shaped blade, and takes up way less counter space than a massive Crock-Pot.

The 1.2-liter jug prepares soup for two (if you’re going the main dish route) or four (if you are serving soup as a starter). You don’t even need to bother with a ladle, either, since there’s a spout that pours directly into your desired serving bowl and a handle to carry it from the kitchen to table for even more ease. The only drawback is that the soup maker is not dishwasher-safe and requires hand-washing.

To help you christen your soup maker with a chef-approved recipe, we asked celebrity chef Luke Venner of Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, Connecticut, to share his go-to wintery soup with us. Don’t miss out on garnishing the soup with homemade brown butter, which can be made by cooking butter over the stovetop until it forms a deep caramelized color. It has a cozy, roasted flavor that you’ll want to drizzle on grains like oatmeal and rice and steamed veggies too.

Chef Luke Venner’s Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 small sweet pumpkin
  • 1 pint Fiji apple juice (like Red Jacket Orchards‘ version, available at Whole Foods)
  • 1 pint water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound browned butter

Directions:

  1. Peel and clean squash and pumpkin, discarding seeds and peels.
  2. Cut squash and pumpkin into 1/2-inch pieces. 
  3. Put squash, pumpkin, Fiji apple juice, and water in soup maker, making sure there is enough liquid to cover all the ingredients; do not exceed the max line.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook using the non-dairy/purée setting for 18 minutes.
  6. Drizzle in brown butter and season with more salt to taste. Give everything a stir and serve.

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(Photos via Williams Sonoma &amp Elm Restaurant)