Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6-8    I’m always delighted when I see butternut squash at Costco – already cut up and ready to cook. (You could always start with a whole squash and cut it up yourself, and if you do you can skip your upper body work-out for the week.)  You can also find prepared butternut squash in most grocery stores. I like to roast the squash first for this soup. It adds a richer flavor, but if you are short on time, it won’t hurt to skip that step.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs butternut squash, cubed

2 Tbsp olive oil (if roasting squash)

salt and pepper (if roasting squash)

4 Tbsp butter

3 leeks (white and light green parts only) – or one onion – diced

4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme

3 sliced of bacon – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

4 cans Swanson’s Chicken Broth/Stock

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

dash of cayenne (optional)

 

Directions:

To roast the squash – heat oven to 375º  Place squash in a large bowl and gently mix with olive oil, plus generous amount of  salt and pepper. Stir until well coated.  Then place seasoned squash on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender – usually about 40 minutes. Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.

 

In large saucepan/pot, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.

Add the butter to the bacon drippings in the pan, stir in the leeks/onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are soft and browned. Discard the thyme sprigs (if using).

 

Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the squash, stock and salt, pepper and cayenne and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer/cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes or so. Allow it cool for about 5 minutes, then use a stick/immersion blender and puree until smooth. (You can use a potato masher instead, which will give you  a more rustic texture for your soup – or pour it into a blender and puree. Your choice.) Correct the seasoning and serve with a crusty french bread.