Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

I was having tea with a friend the other day and we got on the topic of food. This of course was not an usual topic of conversation for us – we both share a huge love of cooking and eating. Then she mentioned butternut squash soup and told me that the key to a really great squash soup is to roast all of the vegetables first. Roasting them enhances the flavor and makes an overall better soup.

I’d been on the lookout for a good squash soup recipe after a few failed attempts. I love squash and I love soup, but I’ve never really found a squash soup recipe that I’ve been crazy about. For the most part, squash soup is pretty bland and unremarkable. So after the squash soup chat with my friend, I figured I would come home and do some research and then come up with my own recipe, which would hopefully be good enough to share with you here. Luckily my experimenting paid off and I came up with a really delicious butternut squash soup.

My friend was right, the key was to roast the vegetables first. I decided to roast a whole butternut squash (mine was medium-sized), a whole sweet potato, 3 medium sized carrots, one whole yellow onion, two large cloves of garlic (I still have tons of garden grown garlic in storage), and one whole red pepper. Most recipes I found only called for a squash to be roasted, sometimes with an onion and some garlic, but I wanted a really flavorful soup, so I decided somewhere along the way to add the carrots, sweet potato, and red pepper. It was worth it. The other thing that really makes this recipe? Bacon. See below for the full recipe.

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup

Ingredients:
For roasting:
1 whole butternut squash, cut in to quarters (mine was medium sized, but use a whole squash in whatever size you can get)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut in to 2 inch cubes
1 whole yellow onion, outer skin removed and cut in to quarters
3 medium or large carrots, peeled and cut in to 2 inch pieces
1 large whole red pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut in to quarters
2-3 large cloves of garlic, outer skin removed
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

For the soup pot:
– 3-4 slices of bacon
– 4 cups chicken broth
– 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

For the garnish:
– 3-4 slices of cooked bacon
– Crumbled feta cheese
– Cracked black pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the prepared vegetables in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes, turning halfway through until all vegetables can easily be pierced with a fork. Set aside and let cool until the squash skins can be removed (you can remove the skins before you roast them, but I find it a pain in the ass to peel an uncooked squash, so I leave this step until after roasting).

While the vegetables are roasting, fry all of the 6-8 pieces of bacon in a cast iron skillet. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

In a pot on the stove top, bring the chicken broth, thyme, and nutmeg to a boil. Add in the roasted vegetables and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. Crumble in 1/2 the bacon and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.

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Now your soup is ready! Ladle the soup in to bowls and finish it off by crumbling the remaining bacon on top, and then crumbling on some feta cheese and cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

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