Well, let’s just start this post by saying that those two butternut squash I bought at the Farmer’s Market never knew what hit ’em. I bought them before Christmas, but didn’t get around to cooking them until this week. I knew I wanted to try making butternut squash soup, and found a recipe from Food & Wine that called for using pancetta, but I went for something we always seems to have around the house… BACON.
So, let me first start by telling you I have NEVER, EVER cooked butternut squash before, in the 37 years I have been married. Now that I got that off my chest, let me tell you something… this will not be the last time, either! This soup was amazing… my husband and I even had leftovers for lunch today, and it’s still tastes just as good as it did a couple of nights ago when I first made it.
The soup is filling, incredibly delicious (especially with the bacon crumbles on top!), and the soup itself is thick and creamy. Seriously orange colored (ha ha) and seriously GOOD. I hope you will give this soup a try… I think you’re gonna love it!
Recipe Adapted From: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/butternut-squash-soup-with-crisp-pancetta
- 2 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
- 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 slices
- Salt and Pepper (to season)
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, then crumbled (Reserve bacon drippings in pan)
- 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
- ½ large brown onion, chopped finely
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs, divided
- 1 bay leaf (found in spice section, or Mexican food section in bags)
- 5-6 cups chicken stock (or low-sodium broth)
- 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
- olive oil (for drizzling as garnish), optional
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Carefully slice the squash in half, lengthwise; scoop out all the seeds. Put the 4 squash halves cut side up, on a large cookie sheet (with edges). Put one slice of butter into each hole (where the seeds were). Season with salt and pepper. Roast the butternut squash for 50-60 minutes at 400 degrees (or until tender). When tender, remove from oven. Let squash cool until it is cool enough to scoop out all the squash out of the skins into a large bowl.
- Cook the bacon in a medium skillet until very crisp. Remove bacon from pan; drain off bacon grease with the exception of 2 Tablespoons (and any little brown bits remaining in the skillet), which you leave in the skillet. Crumble the bacon pieces, and set aside for garnishing the soup before serving.
- Add the chopped onion to the bacon grease in the skillet, and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Pour the onions and any remaining bacon grease from the skillet into a large, heavy stockpot. Stir in the cooked squash, the chicken stock (add 5 cups of chicken stock at first), 3 of the thyme sprigs (whole), and the bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; stir frequently. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer soup for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 15 minutes, remove thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Discard. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until thick and creamy. If not using immersion blender, transfer the soup in batches to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth (about a minute per batch), then return soup to stockpot. If you want the soup to be thinner, add an additional cup of chicken stock and stir to combine. Stir 1 Tablespoon whipping cream into the soup, and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Reheat the soup, if necessary. Ladle the soup into your serving bowls.
- To serve, place some of the crumbled bacon onto the top middle of the soup. Drizzle a tiny bit of whipping cream onto top, then drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Garnish with thyme leaves.
- Serve, and enjoy!