Monday, November 2, 2009

Crispy Bacon and Butternut Squash Soup

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween! We did in our possy! I had the pleasure of playing crosswalk guard/monkey carrier . . . meaning that I helped herd, guide, and carry nieces and nephews from house to house while trick or treating. To prep for our candy gathering we filled up with Navajo tacos, decorated sugar cookies and munched on all sorts of other goodies!
A seemingly never ending day of snow last week guided me into the kitchen to make this inviting soup. Butternut squash is so versatile to utilize in making soup . . . I LOVED the addition of bacon in it! The crispy bacon added a great smoky, salty flavor and crispy nummy-ness. It is amazing and a day with a crispy loaf of baked potato bread (recipe yet to come . . . ).
Crispy Bacon and Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe by: Emily

1 Butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
3 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Milk or Cream
3 Tbsp leeks, chopped*
2 Garlic cloves, minced (I used 3 cloves of caramelized garlic*)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Strips of Bacon

1. Coat the butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender.
2. Cook the bacon strips in a frying pan over medium low heat until crisp. (If you start the bacon in a cold pan and cook at a low temperature it renders the fat down and creates crispy bacon with less mess and stress!!!). Once the bacon is cooked place strips on a paper towel to drain excess grease off.
3. Saute the leaks over medium heat in a medium pot in one tablespoon of the bacon fat until soft, add the Garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
4. Once the squash is done remove the chicken stock pot from the stove, add the roasted squash and puree with a hand blender or blend in 2 batches in a blender. (Be careful if you are using a blender, hold a dish towel over the top instead of the blender lid so that it does not explode the hot liquid all over!!!). Add 1/2 cup milk or cream to the soup and season to taste. Serve warm with one strip of bacon crumbled over each serving. You can also garnish with Parmesan cheese or croutons. (I like to add a little drzzle of pumpkin seed oil.) Enjoy!

Caramelized Garlic: amazing in anything! Caramelized garlic is easy to make, wrap a head of garlic (I make a couple at a time) in aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes until the cloves are soft. I let the garlic heads cool to room temperature and then peel the cloves and freeze them in a bag in the freezer, ready to to be used in any recipe! Roasting the garlic creates an almost sweet flavor that is not as overwhelming as raw garlic. It is also so good to mix butter and herbs with and use as a french bread spread!

Leek Cubes: chopping and cleaning leeks can be a bit of a pain sometimes, especially if you want to get dinner done quickly. Whenever I buy leeks I get a bunch to chop up and clean and then fill an ice cube tray with the cleaned, chopped leeks and then fill the cubes with chicken stock and freeze. After frozen I pop them out bag them and then back into the freezer they go where they are ready to use in soups, sauces etc.


teresa said...

oh wow, this is such a pretty soup! great food tips too! glad you had a good halloween!

Carrian said...

So pretty!!! I love it!

Anonymous said...

Just made this soup! It was delicious - fantastic recipe!!!

Anonymous said...

Just made this soup! It was delicious - fantastic recipe!!!