October 22, 2010


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is healthy and flavorful and is perfect for dinner on a cool autumn evening with a loaf of rustic Bread to dip into it.  Each time you go to the market and see Butternut Squash piled high in the bins you wheel on by thinking, "There's no way I can cook one of those," not knowing just what you have been missing.  Roasting Squash is easy.  Think of it as a giant Potato.  You simply peel it and remove the seeds and roast it.  OK, so a Potato doesn't have seeds but it is the just as easy to roast.  The roasting will bring out subtle nutty sweetness, that with a background of smokey Bacon, makes a delicious hearty autumn soup.  Summer may be gone but when you make soup from roasted Butternut Squash you are Cooking The Amazing.

TIP:  Try using Acorn Squash or Fresh Pie Pumpkin (the little sweet Pumpkins used to make fresh Pumpkin Pie) in place of the Butternut Squash.

Here is the recipe.

3 1/2 lbs  Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded
2 T  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t  Sea Salt, fine grain
1/2 t  Pepper, black, fresh ground
6  Slices of Bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 T  Butter, unsalted
1  Onion, yellow, medium
1 c  Carrot, diced small
2  Cloves of Garlic, minced fine
4 c  Chicken Stock
1 t  Sea Salt, fine grain
1 t  Pepper, black, fresh ground
2 t  Thyme, dried or fresh
1/8 t  Cayenne Pepper
1 c  Heavy Cream
OPTIONAL:  Sour Cream, Green Onions for garnish

1.  Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Peel and seed then dice into large  2 inch chunks the Butternut Squash.  Use a vegetable peeler to peel the tough skin and a large sharp chef's knife to cut the Squash in half then quarters.  Seed the Squash then cut into 2 inch chunks.

3.  Place the Squash on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with the Olive Oil and sprinkle with 1 t Sea Salt and 1/2 t Pepper.  Using your hands mix the Squash around to cover well with the oil.

4.  Roast in the oven for 55-60 minutes at 400 degrees or until the Squash is lightly browned and soft all the way through tested by being easily pierced with a knife.  Set aside on counter.

5.  Cut the Bacon into large 1 inch pieces.  In a large pot (the one you plan to make the soup in),  over medium heat, fry the strips of Bacon until crisp then remove to a paper towel covered plate to drain.  Reserve 2 T of Bacon fat.

6.  Over medium heat add the 2 T Butter to the 2 T of reserved Bacon fat and saute the diced Onion for 4 minutes then add the diced Carrot and saute for 6-8 minutes until semi-soft. 

7.  Add the finely minced Garlic and cook for 1 minute more then add the Chicken Stock and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon removing the browned bits of cooked Bacon and Onion and Carrot using the boiling liquid to assist.  This is called deglazing and incorporates amazing flavor into the soup.

8.  Once at a boil, add the 1 t Sea Salt, 1 t Pepper, 2 t Thyme, 1/8 t Cayenne Pepper and stir well.

9.  Add all the roasted Squash and any juices from the cookie sheet to the boiling pot and cover with a lid partially and reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

10.  Remove from the heat and add the Heavy Cream and stir well. 

11.  Using and immersion blender or regular blender or food mill, puree the soup in small batches.  Use caution in a regular blender with hot blending  liquids which can explode out the top and burn anyone in a 10 foot radius.  It's not pretty, I know from experience.   Fill the blender only 1/3 full and cover the lid with a kitchen towel holding the lid tightly in place before you turn it on.   Puree all the soup and return to the pot.

12.  Once all the Soup is blended taste for seasoning.  Add more Salt or Pepper as needed.  Add more Chicken Stock if it is too thick for your tastes.  Garnish with Homemade Croutons, Bacon crisps and/or Sour Cream and/or Green Onion finely diced and serve hot. 

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