Monday, December 10, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup
This is a soup that took me 2 tries to get it right.  My first attempt was below pathetic--the soup was watery and thin, and it was definitely not pureed enough.  I also was highly dissatisfied with the flavor.  When I posted about this on Facebook, many of my friends offered their suggestions, one of which was adding cream cheese to the soup, something I admit I hadn't even considered.  I shelved that suggestion to the back of my mind for the next time I would try to make this soup.  After catching a cooking show where they roasted an acorn squash with shallots and garlic inside, I was inspired to try again. So here is a record of that second attempt.  It turned out way BEYOND my expectations.  Let's just say the way my house smelled while the squash was roasting was nothing compared to how well this soup turned out.  I loved how the roasting brought out the sweetness of the butternut squash without adding any sugar whatsoever to the mix.  And, need I say it, the bacon improved the recipe on the whole to a level I could not have imagined.  Bacon really does make everything better! LOL. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as me & my family did...

1 whole butternut squash
8 slices of thick-cut bacon
8-10 whole, peeled cloves of garlic (do not chop)
4-5 peeled shallots
2-3 Tbsp olive oil (I prefer the light-tasting variety to extra-virgin)
4 C Chicken broth
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (can use reduced-fat)
1-2 Tbsp kosher salt, depending on taste
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 C shredded cheese for garnish, such as swiss or gruyere
Chopped parsley, also for garnish (can be dried)

Squash, bacon, shallots and garlic, ready for the oven

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roughly dice bacon slices; set aside.  Slice shallots and set those aside.  Peel & chop de-seeded butternut squash into small, roughly 1-in cubes. Make sure cubes are somewhat equal in size so they roast evenly.  In a large bowl, combine squash, bacon, garlic and shallots. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. When entire mixture is seasoned, pour and evenly distribute onto large, flat, shallow pan, such as a 1/2 jelly roll sheet.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the squash has started to brown on the edges and the bacon has mostly crisped up. Remove from oven.  Set aside a few browned shallots rings and bacon bits to reserve as garnish for serving and let the rest cool.

In a large saucepot, bring chicken broth up to a simmer on medium-high to high heat. While broth is heating up, place entire contents of roasting pan into a food processor and purée until all the pieces have been puréed relatively well.  (There might still be little bacon bits visibly floating throughout purée; this is ok.)

Roasted squash mixture, puréed in a food processor.
Add purée to chicken broth and stir well; a whisk is recommended.  Lower heat to medium and add cream cheese.  Whisk further until cream cheese is well incorporated. Remove from heat.

Ladel soup into bowls.  Garnish with crisped shallots & bacon; can add shredded cheese as well.

Makes 4-6 servings


1 comment:

  1. This recipe is fabulous! My husband is raving and it's so easy and very tasty. I used red onion instead of shallots just because that is what I had on hand. It's even faster to make if you pick up a package of already cubed butternut squash from Costco or Whole Foods. Deborah