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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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Level: Easy

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Description

This is not your everyday butternut squash soup. This has a wonderful fresh flavor, it’s not heavy or starchy, and it is the perfect partner for grilled cheese. And believe it or not, despite the lovely velvety creamy texture, there’s no cream except the (optional) garnish.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE:
  • 1-½ pound Peeled And Seeded Butternut Squash (weight After Prepping)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Salt (Sea Or Kosher)
  • ½ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 1-½ cup Chicken Or Vegetable Stock (Low Sodium)
  • FOR THE SOUP:
  • ½ whole Yellow Onion (medium To Large)
  • 1 whole Leek, Cleaned, Dark Green Top Discarded
  • 2 whole Carrots, Peeled
  • 2 whole Celery Stalks
  • 1 whole Granny Smith Apple, Cored
  • 1 whole Orange Bell Pepper
  • ¼ cups Flat Leaf/Italian Parsley (loosely Packed)
  • ¼ cups Fresh Sage (loosely Packed)
  • 2 strips Bacon, Thick Cut
  • ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter, Unsalted
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes De Provence
  • ½ cups White Wine
  • 3-½ cups Chicken Or Vegetable Stock (Low Sodium)
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoons Sriracha Sauce Or Hot Pepper Sauce (Optional)
  • Salt (Sea Or Kosher) And Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Optional Garnishes: Heavy Cream And Thinly Sliced Chives

Preparation

While it may seem labor intensive, in order to achieve the perfect texture it really is best to puree the roasted squash separately from the soup base. I usually roast and puree the squash the day before. Trust me when I say, it’s worth washing the extra dishes!

For the roasted squash:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut squash into a large dice (approximately 3/4 inch cubes). Toss together with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a shallow baking dish in a single layer for 20 to 30 minutes (uncovered). Roast until the squash is very soft, stirring once. The squash should start getting nice and brown around the edges.

In a blender, or using an immersion blender, combine chicken/vegetable stock with the roasted squash, pureeing on high until smooth. It will resemble baby food. (This mix will seem bland; do not adjust any seasonings until the entire soup is assembled.) Set aside or refrigerate until you are ready to prepare your soup.

For the soup:

The vegetables do not need to be cut evenly or pretty. This is going to be pureed, so your goal is to chop everything relatively the same size so that it will cook evenly.

Clean, then rough chop all of the following into a medium dice: onion, leek, carrots, celery, apple and bell pepper. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of your knife. Rough chop the parsley and sage.

Rough chop the bacon and put it into a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat to render the fat. When the bacon is starting to brown and get crispy, add the olive oil and butter (extra fat is needed, we’re going to be sauteing a lot of veggies). Add the onions and leeks. When the onions get translucent, add the carrots, celery, apple and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes then add the parsley and sage, garlic, and Herbes de Provence. Let the mixture cook for 2 minutes. Then add the white wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken/vegetable stock and cover the pot. Allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the carrots are soft.

For the assembly:

If you have an immersion blender, take the soup off of the heat and use the immersion blender to blend the base as smoothly as possible. Add the squash puree and blend well to combine. Be careful—this is hot and an immersion blender can cause a little bit of splatter.

If you’re using a regular blender, blend the soup in your blender in small batches. Be careful, this is a very hot liquid. When everything is blended, add the puree back to the pot and combine with the squash puree, stirring well.

Put the pot back on the stove and bring the whole mixture up to a simmer. Add the balsamic vinegar (it sounds weird, but trust me, it works). If you like spicy, add Sriracha or another hot sauce—start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more depending on your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste.

As you serve, you can swirl a drizzle of heavy cream over the top of the soup in each bowl and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Easily serves 6 with sandwiches or a salad.

Notes:
- This can be turned vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable stock, omitting the bacon and butter, and omitting the cream garnish.
- Kid tested and approved on ages 6, 4, and 2!

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