Butternut and Bacon Soup

There's nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. Every Thanksgiving, I make some derivative of my favorite butternut squash soup. I like to whip it up the day before, and reheat it as a quick lunch since I can gobble it up while I'm frantically running around the kitchen. I used to follow various recipes, but I've simplified things and developed my own tasty concoction.

The hardest part about this recipe is prepping the shallots has to be the worst. For some reason, shallots have been far more potent on my sensitive eyes, and I almost immediately burst into tears! This recipe takes hardly any time, and the ingredients are almost entirely ones I'd have around the house anyway [with the exception of the squash, though I have been cooking with it more and more!] which makes it the perfect last minute dish. 

Bacon Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed [about 2.5 cups] *TIP* if you have a Trader Joes nearby, they sell bags of cubed butternut squash, which will save you even more time and simplify your life!
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed [about 1 cup]
  • 2 small baking potatoes, peeled and cubed [about 1-1.5 cups]
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2-4 cups chicken stock [depending on how thick you prefer your soup!]
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for roasting the squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for roasting the squash
  • pinch of red pepper flakes [optional]
  • several sprigs of thyme [I minced about a teaspoon and used the rest for garnish]
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup half and half [optional]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place butternut squash cubes on pan and toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon bits and cook the shallots on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic, potatoes and sweet potatoes, thyme and red pepper flakes until the potatoes brown, about 10 minutes.

When the butternut squash is ready, add it to the pot and top with chicken broth [I usually add just enough to cover the vegetables.] Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

I use my Vitamix to blend the soup at this stage [it makes the soup creamy without adding any cream. Magic!]. An immersion blender also works well.  If you're using a standard blender, I'd blend the soup in small batches and add a bit extra broth each time you blend. 

If you're going to a Thanksgiving dinner and still don't have anything to bring, try quickly whipping up this sinful tasting [but surprisingly healthy!] soup.