January 19, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup

How about a nice bowl of soup to warm up in this cold weather?

The thing about butternut squash soup is that it’s sort of a blank canvas. Like sweet potatoes, it goes well with spicy chilis and sweeter spices like cinnamon or clove. Usually, I’m one to choose the spicy or more savory versions over the sweet ones. This soup has a little bit of everything. Not too spicy and not too sweet, it also has bacon, which adds a nice smoky flavor that plays off the squash quite well.

Not quite as easy as my Pumpkin Soup, this one isn’t bad. Can’t find butternut squash in your grocery store? No worries since this uses those convenient packages of frozen pureed squash that you can find in your freezer section. As with most soups, the flavors are much more pronounced the next day, so next time I’ll go easier on the cayenne. I also find that this soup becomes quite thick, so I would add another ½ cup of broth, or a bit more cream.

Hope you enjoy it!

Butternut Squash Soup
(recipe from Southern Living Magazine)

6 slices bacon (center cut is nice)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 large onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 (12-oz) pkgs frozen butternut squash, thawed
1 ½ Tbsp honey
2-3 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
¼ cup heavy cream

Cook the bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Remove the bacon and some of the drippings, leaving about 2 Tbsp. of fat. Crumble the bacon once it has cooled and set aside.

Sauté the onion, carrots and celery in the bacon drippings for 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the apple and garlic and sauté 5 more minutes, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the thawed butternut squash and chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked through. Puree the soup in a blender, in small batches, as my kitchen walls will tell you, as warm liquids has the tendency to explode. Return the soup to the pot and add the honey, lime juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne and cream. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Garnish the soup with crumbled bacon and, if desired, sour cream and a sprinkle of cayenne.


Katie said...

I keep reading about butternut squash - soups and risottos. Looks like I'll have to plant some (one?) next year.
I like the idea of a bit of spice!

Michelle said...

I've gone crazy over butternut squash this year, and there's one waiting in my cupboard right now...maybe it's time to try a new recipe (it usually heads straight for a risotto). Amen to the note on small batches in the blender!