Friday, October 3, 2008

Smoky-Sweet Butternut Squash Soup

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The leaves change colors, the weather turns brisk and sweater-worthy, and everything returns to a regular schedule. The kids are back in school. Television stations stop showing reruns and cheap summer filler. What's not to love about autumn? So to celebrate the advent of autumn, I fixed my favorite soup, the one that most clearly evokes autumn for me: butternut squash soup.

Smoky-Sweet Butternut Squash Soup
1 Tbsp EVOO
3-4 slices bacon
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored and diced
About 1 dozen fresh sage leaves
1 jar butternut squash puree (I get those big jars from Williams-Sonoma), or one large butternut squash, roasted & pureed (if you're not lazy like me)
2-4 cups chicken stock (one big box = 4 cups)
2 Tbsp butter
salt & pepper

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels. Add the onions to the pot and saute in the olive oil and bacon grease for a few minutes, until translucent but not browned. Add the diced apple and saute for another couple of minutes. Chop up about half a dozen sage leaves and add them to the apples and onions, and season everything with salt & pepper. (Reserve another half dozen large, beautiful sage leaves for garnish.) When the apples are nice and soft, add the butternut squash puree and about two cups of chicken stock and raise the temperature to medium-high. When the soup starts to bubble a bit, lower the temperature back down to medium and break out your immersion blender and blend it up until smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more stock (final amount will depend on how much butternut squash puree you have and how thick you like your soup). When everything is heated back up again, taste the soup, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

To garnish, melt two tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is completely melted and done foaming, add the reserved whole sage leaves, making sure to keep them separated. Remove the sage leaves after about 30 seconds, and drain on a paper towel. The leaves should be crispy. Chop the cooked bacon and the fried sage leaves and top your bowl of soup with a little of each. Delicious!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

The soup looks delicious. I have never had butternut squash soup but want to try it now!