Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup

It all started because I had half of a butternut squash in my fridge with no idea what to do. I don't usually cook with squash - other than the calabaza or summer squash sauteed in butter, olive oil and sprinkled with white pepper, black pepper, and salt. So, I had to resort to "the google" for ideas.

I remembered quite some time ago I made a butternut squash, apple, bacon, and onion soup. I remembered it being quite good, but then I never made it again. What does that say? Clearly our residence never had another opportunity or craving for said soup... until the other day.

"the google" gave me some good ideas of recipe framework and then this masterpiece was born. The starting point was (of all things) a Martha Stewart recipe. Thanks for the inspiration, Martha!

Corn Bread Muffins and a light summer salad are delicious accompaniments. I imagine that the recipe below might be relatively easy to convert for a vegetarian diet or gluten-free diet!

Butternut Squash Soup
30+ minutes, Serves 4*
*Note: Quantities as stated serves 4 normal people with sides. If you are a McKean family member, this recipe serves 2-3 people. If you are my father-in-law, this recipe serves 1.*

4 oz. chopped Bacon (Ends and Bits)
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium yellow onion - roughly chopped
4 1/2 c. Butternut Squash - peeled, roughly chopped 2 c. Chicken Stock
1/2 c. Water
Garlic Powder


1. In a large pan, melt the butter and add bacon. Cook until just crisp.

2. Add onion and squash. Saute until onions are translucent. Dust with garlic powder, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper.

3. Add liquids and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until squash is fork tender. Check the seasoning of the broth and correct to taste with thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper.

4. Puree in batches in a blender.

5. Correct seasoning and serve!

Thrifty Tips & Tricks

I always keep some bacon "ends and bits" in the freezer. It's two pounds of bacon that isn't in those pretty little strips, and it sells for a lot cheaper. It may be a bit fattier. But, as I have everyone in my house recite - "Fat is Flavor!" Say it with me now, "Fat is Flavor!"

Parsley is not just a garnish. We keep some parsley around to make quinoa tabouli, spaghetti carbonara,  and other dishes. It adds some clean peppery flavor that we love. To keep it fresh, we wrap it in a paper towel and then place it in a ziplock with plenty of air. My mother in law showed this to me and it is how I keep all of my fresh herbs for astronomically longer time in my fridge. If you aren't going to use it before it goes bad, put it on a baking sheet and place it in the oven at 250 degrees F until thoroughly dried. Then crush and add to your dried parsley in your spice cabinet.

In a pureed soup, you can throw in almost anything with compatible flavors. I didn't do anything outrageous in this soup, but I did use my previously cut red onions and yellow onions and then supplemented with an additional yellow onion.

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