Soup’s on: Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon

There is absolutely nothing more perfect than soup during chilly months. After a frosty

IMG_1750weekend, this soup sounded divine. From Damn Delicious, this Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup is the perfect thing for my flexitarian diet (which arguably is just another word for omnivore, but I love the idea of it:  a tendency towards vegetarianism, with the occasional addition of meat). That’s kind of me in a nutshell! Plus, since I started eating bacon again (after 9 years), I do like to indulge occasionally.

The one downside to this soup is that it is not type of thing you can just leave sitting to cook. It requires a number of cooking steps and consequently, cooking vessels. The clean up was less fun. Good thing we have the “I cook, you clean” rule at our house….

INGREDIENTS (y
1 butternut squash (3 lbs., peeled and cut in 1″ inch chunks)
1 yellow onion, diced
4 slices bacon, diced
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

*The ingredients called for chopped red bell pepper, but given my problems with bell peppers this week, I decided to veto that ingredient.

FOR THE SOUP
4 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 tsp. dried sage*
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

*The recipe included thyme, but sort of by accident, I put in dried sage that we had leftover from our new home purification, rather than thyme. I image the thyme would have been good, but also love sage in soups and it pairs so nicely with squash and caramelized flavors. A happy accident! 

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. (Have I mentioned that I love love love our Misto?)

2. Place diced squash (I have finally learned to buy the pre-sliced, pre-packaged butternut squash–despite the fact it is probably more costly and there is ugh…plastic packaging…it saves about 20 minutes of hacking open the skin of a butternut squash. I used 2 of them), onion, bacon and garlic on the baking sheet in a single layer, and mix to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender. Stir around at about 15 minutes to ensure everything cooks evenly.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the other 4 bacon strips and cook until brown (I like my bacon extra crispy, so I usually cook about 8 minutes).Transfer to paper bowl lined plate to soak up the grease.

5. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the squash mixture, sage, and cook until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and puree. (The recommendation is to use an immersion blender, but not having one, I had to settle with putting 3 different batches of squash and chicken stock in the blender, before adding it to the pot.

6. Bring to a boil, then simmer until slightly thickened.

7. Garnish with cooked crispy bacon and goat cheese crumbles.

On the side, I made some roasted brussels sprouts. This with the soup was a perfect flavorful combination–the epitome of comfort and fall.

Tips: if you are going to be making soups regularly, it is time to get an immersion blender. It will make the process easier and more equal. Also, always use the right knife. I grabbed a carving knife to multi-task cutting the vegetables and the meat, and since it was not enough of an angle for dicing, it slipped and  nicked my hand. Lesson learned.

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