In a saucepan over medium heat, soften the onions in the oil for 2 minutes. Then add the squash and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the fennel seeds, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
In a blender (or with a blender), reduce to a smooth puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Reserve.
Meanwhile, in a pan, heat 30 ml (2 tbsp.) of butter over medium heat. Saute apples for 2 to 4 minutes, or until starting to brown. Add the maple syrup and mix well. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the apples are well caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Divide the soup between the bowls. Top with popcorn, apples, pumpkin seeds and chives. Serve immediately.
The Chef's trick
The texture of the soup can be adjusted by removing (thicker soup) or adding (thinner soup) chicken broth when mashing it.