Bacon Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
1/4 block of cream cheese
1/3 pack of lean bacon
1/3 litre of chicken or turkey stock
1 tbsp. of thyme
1 pinch each of salt and pepper
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Celsius.
Cut the butternut squash in half, widthwise and using a sharp knife, peel away the rind. Scoop the innards and seeds out of the hollow part in the centre and discard along with the rind. Cut the squash into cubes or chunks roughly 2 inches by 2 inches in diameter.
Place the squash in a small roaster and add about 2 cups of broth. Roast for approx. 20 minutes or until the squash is tender all the way through.
Remove from oven and let stand to cool.
While the squash cools, dice your bacon into small pieces (bits) and fry in a medium sized pan on medium heat until crispy. It’s important not to discard the rendered grease, as this will add substantial flavour to the soup later on.
Using a blender, food processor or emersion blender, blend your squash with all other ingredients (aside from the bacon) one at a time until the mixture looks smooth and creamy. It’s best to add the stock last, however, along with the drippings from the roaster as you may want to add more or less of it to ensure the puree isn’t too thin or thick.
When the time came to present this soup to BernieAnne I knew that she would immediately recognize the difference in colour from that of the original recipe.
Everyone in the class usually tried to stick to the recipe as accurately as possible in order to avoid a negative result and I was a bit concerned about that as well, until I tasted it.
I presented Chef with the bowl of bacon butternut squash soup garnished with a mint leaf and bit the inside of my bottom lip from the tension. She did indeed first comment on the lighter colour of my soup and I told her sheepishly that I had added a small amount of cream cheese along with a couple other small changes.
Knowing that I was eager for her opinion and being playful as she was, she made a small show of plunging her spoon slowly into the bowl and seemingly overanalyzing every small detail to build the suspense before taking her first mouthful. When she tasted it, her eyes lit up and she instantly made the sound every cook loves to hear most. “Mmmmmmm!”
She proclaimed my creation to be delicious and polished off the entire bowl.
It was one of the proudest and most glorious moments for me as a young cook because I had managed to turn what was previously a weakness into strength and impressed a chef whom I deeply admired for her culinary prowess.
Since then this soup has been my trump card in most restaurants that I’ve had a bit of creative license in and also my go-to soup for impressing people that need to be impressed, such as the family of my ex-fiancé.
I invite you all to try cooking this soup for yourselves at home or any other variation of butternut squash soup that you may find online or in any cookbooks.
In my opinion, butternut squash is very much underused and underappreciated here in Newfoundland and that is a shame. I’ve often used roasted butternut squash as an addition to a turkey jiggs dinner more than once with amazing results!
But... that sounds like a good topic for another article.