It’s finally acting like fall in Napa and I am so absolutely thrilled! We had a very intense thunder and lightening storm all afternoon, which reminded me of the summer storms back in Tennessee. It was perfect. Well, almost. I was really wishing I’d been at home snuggled up in bed with Betsey, a book, and a huge bowl of my new favorite soup.
But instead, I was at work. Womp womp.
Let’s chat about my new favorite soup that I found on Damn Delicious, shall we?
I had a butternut squash I needed to use from my Apple Hill trip. You know, the one where I bought a million apples and I made the Brown Butter Apple Pecan Upside Down Cake to use up some of the apples? I swear I’m sharing more about that soon.
Anyway, I was on the search for a tasty butternut squash soup recipe and stumbled upon one on Damn Delicious. It seemed like it would fit my bill. As Damn Delicious blogger Chungah notes, “The secret is simple but very crucial to make this soup what it is is. It’s the process of roasting the butternut squash with bacon, and then blending them right up. That way, you have that smoky bacon goodness built right into the soup.” And boy is she right! The bacon adds a rich smokiness that makes the soup silky and decadent without the addition of cream or butter. Plus, the onions and garlic start to caramelize and it’s just absolute heaven.
And I cannot get enough.
As usual, I put my own spin on her recipe. I decided to not to peel and cube the butternut squash as the original recipe told me to. Have you ever peeled and cubed a butternut squash? It’s. So. Hard. I followed my mom’s instructions to halve and roast the squash so that I could easily scoop out the good stuff. I like easy.
I also added more bacon to make the soup smokier and increased the amount of chicken stock to make the soup.. soupier? rather than having the consistency of a puree. It’s all about personal tastes, right? Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup adapted from Damn Delicious
- 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 12 slices bacon, diced and divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
- Rub the inside of the butternut squash halves with olive oil and place face-down on a rimmed sheet pan (or two if yours a smaller, like mine). Roast for approximately 20 minutes, until the squash is almost cooked through. Test by stabbing the squash with a knife. It should go in smoothly but not be too soft.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the diced bacon (approximately 6 slices) and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the bacon grease.
- Once the squash is mostly cooked, place onion, bell pepper and bacon in a single layer onto the baking sheet with the semi-cooked squash. If your sheet pans are smaller, divide all ingredients between the two sheets. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently stir to combine. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is completely tender, stirring in bacon grease at halftime.
- Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Scoop out the inside of the butternut squash, making sure not to get the white layer. Add butternut squash, vegetables from the baking sheet and thyme to the stock pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.
I happen to think the bacon, goat cheese and chive topping is mandatory, but I do acknowledge that some people may not like it. You do you.
I served my first batch in shot glasses (classy as always) for a little taste, like how restaurants do soup shooters (actually classy). It makes a perfect appetizer, like that! Once everyone loved it and demanded more, I divvied up the soup into cocktail glasses so people can have a bigger serving without compromising their ability to mingle and eat. I’m thoughtful like that.
I’ll definitely be making this as a Thanksgiving appetizer in a few weeks. My plan is to make the soup a few days in advance and make the garnish the day of so the bacon stays crunchy. I’ll serve it in some cocktail glasses again.
Gah. I can’t rave about this soup enough! Please make it and tell me how you like it!