Soup warms and comforts when winter sets in. Melt away the chill or indulge a New Year’s resolution to eat right, butternut squash soup will not disappoint. This nutrient-packed soup boasts vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A—taking better care of yourself never tasted so good!
Some recipes accentuate the natural sweetness of this winter squash, but I was looking for a soup that could stand on its own as the main course, not taste like dessert. With two recipes in hand, one from Daniel Rose and one from Allrecipes.com, mixed with little ingenuity of my own, I set out to create a satisfying meal with soup as the centerpiece. This butternut squash soup recipe incorporates subtle tones of ginger, fennel, and smoky bacon (I used turkey bacon), which complements the subtle sweetness of the squash yet finishes savory and smooth.
Savory Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large butternut squash, 2-2 1/2 lbs — peeled, cubed
1 cup leeks or green onions — white part only, chopped
1 large carrot — peeled, chopped fine
2 stalks celery — chopped fine
1/2 cup fennel bulb — trimmed and chopped
1 medium sweet potato — peeled, cubed
2 cloves garlic — minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger — peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream
6 slices bacon — chopped and fried crisp
1/4 cup fresh parsley or spinach leaves
Peel squash with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut lengthwise, scoop out seeds and cut into 1″ cubes. Peel sweet potato and cut into 1″cubes. Prep remaining vegetables as indicated.
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat; add leeks, celery, carrot, and fennel. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned and begin to caramelize. Add ginger and garlic, cook until well incorporated and fragrant.
Add butter, squash, and potato to the vegetables. Cook for 5-6 minutes, drizzle honey over it, and continue cooking until squash and potato are lightly browned in spots and caramelized. Add stock and milk, reduce heat to simmer and cook about 30 minutes until squash and potato are tender.
While soup is simmering, cut bacon into small pieces and cook until crispy. Set aside to garnish soup when served.
Once the squash and potatoes are tender, use a potato masher to pulverize soup to desired consistency (I like my soup a little more hearty with small chunks). To produce a soup with a smooth texture, use a blender to puree the soup and return it to the pot. To thin the soup, add more chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in warmed bowls with a tablespoon of cream on top and sprinkle with bacon and parsley.
[This post is a part of Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist.]