Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon

0302Fall in the Ozarks is my favorite time of the year.  Our region boosts an array of fall vegetables like spaghetti squash, eggplants, peppers, acorn and butternut squash, sweet potatoes, bright greens, apples and more!  It’s the perfect time for a visit to the local farmers market or farm stand to see what’s in season for your family’s table.

Butternut squash is one of my very favorite fall vegetables to cook for my family.  Roast this fall squash and it becomes slightly sweet, puree it for a hearty soup and its the perfect texture.  The best part about all winter squash is the long storage life, if kept cool and in a dark place.

Here is one of my go-to recipes all winter long that our family enjoys and takes little effort to prepare.  It’s perfect to warm you up on a crisp fall day!

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon
Serves 6

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced sliced
4 sliced of bacon, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 T. olive oil
3 T. butter
½ tsp. fine grain salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream or milk
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. nutmeg
For garnish: Crispy bacon, chopped chives, crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F and place a rack in the middle.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and place butternut squash chunks, quartered onion, diced red bell pepper, chopped bacon, and garlic cloves in a single layer.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring at halftime, until butternut squash is nicely roasted.

When ready, remove from the oven and peel garlic. Transfer everything to a large pot, add thyme, stock, and puree with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, then transfer roasted veggies to a food processor and process. (You may need to add some chicken stock to get a fine puree.) After you have pureed the mixture, add it to a large stockpot.

Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. If it’s too thick add more stock, ¼ cup at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Take a taste and adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with some crispy bacon, chopped chives, and crumbled goat cheese as desired.

And, if you are looking for other ways to use up all that delicious winter squash from your garden or the gardens of local farmer friends, check out this great list.

 

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