Silky smooth, rich and creamy, and very easy.  Serve with crusty bread and a spinach salad.

Butternut squash soup with bacon

Adapted from The Naked Beet

Yield:  Makes about 3 quarts

6 slices thin-cut bacon

1 Spanish onion, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced

1 heaping tsp. minced fresh sage or thyme leaves

1 large butternut squash (3-4 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

About 6 c. chicken stock

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. cider vinegar

Salt and freshly ground, black pepper, to taste

Fry bacon in large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Crumble bacon and set aside.

Pour off all but about 1 1/2 tbsp. bacon fat from pot and return to stove.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes.  Add sage or thyme and cook 1 minute more.  Pour in 1 cup of the stock and raise heat to high.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits off bottom of pot.  Add squash and enough stock to just cover vegetables.  Season with salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.

When soup has cooled slightly, puree in batches in a blender or food processor.  Return to pot, add brown sugar, vinegar, and a few grindings of black pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning or thin with additional stock as needed.

Serve hot, garnished with crumbled bacon.

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