Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup

LAST SUMMER was the first in many that I didn’t plant Butternut Squash. What a grave error on my part. Just two of these tan-skinned beauties, purchased at my local organic farm store, cost a jaw-dropping ten dollars. This was hardly a waste of money, however, for I turned the squash into the million dollar soup you see pictured above. You might like to make this golden glee for Thanksgiving. You can prepare it days in advance.

And speaking of Thanksgiving…I hope you’ll consider A Garden for the House your source for holiday menu ideas. You will find lots of rave-worthy recipes here, including appetizers, main-courses, and desserts.

Now, onto the soup:

Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients for about 3 quarts soup
One large (4-lb) butternut squash (or two smaller ones)
8 slices bacon , cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
5 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry sherry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional: Fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Special Equipment: a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot or Dutch oven; a food processor with metal blade attached

First, cut the stem end and also the knobby end from the squash. The knobby end contains the seeds. We don’t want seeds in this recipe, so just discard this piece.

Next, remove skin by slicing straight down on the squash.

Cut the cylinder in half; cut each half in half to make quarters.

Finally, roughly slice each quarter into 1/2 inch cubes.

Place the cubes, which look for all the world like cubes of cantaloupe, on a foil-lined baking sheet. To mitigate the slightest chance of sticking while baking, first spray the foil with non-stick spray. Then drizzle on just enough olive to lightly coat the cubes. Give them a toss with your hands to insure that all pieces are coated.

Bake for exactly 45 minutes in the preheated 375 degree oven. When done, the cubes should be perfectly tender and just slightly colored.

While the squash is caramelizing, place the cut up bacon in the pot, and let it cook over a low flame until fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Stir the bacon from time to time, and watch that is does not color, let alone burn.

Add the the chopped onions, the salt, the pepper and the thyme to the bacon. Stir about with a wooden spoon to coat the onion with bacon fat. Then cover the pot and let the onions slowly sweat over a low flame, until they become tender and translucent, about 20 minutes.

Pour the onion mixture into the bowl of your food processor, add a cup of chicken stock, and process for about 30 seconds. When perfectly pureed, it will look rather uninteresting, as the photo above indicates. But just you wait.

As the onions process, rinse out the cooking pot. You don’t want any little bits of onion or bacon sticking to it. Return the now-pureed onion and bacon mix to the pot.

Now add the butternut squash and another cup of chicken stock to the bowl of the food processor. Puree for 30 seconds or until a perfectly smooth puree is achieved.

Add the puree to the cooking pot, and stir to blend with the onion mixture. Add also the remainder of the chicken stock. Slowly bring the soup to a simmer over a low flame.

As the soup heats, stir in the sherry. Be sure to use a good, drinkable dry sherry. You’re worth it.

Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t forget to inhale its luscious perfume.

Just before serving, stir in the heavy cream. Like dry sherry, cream is your friend. No matter what you’ve heard.

You’ll be happy to know that you can make this soup days in advance. Just omit the cream until ready to serve. Keep the soup covered and refrigerated.

And my, what a useful soup to have around! I’ve enjoyed it for breakfast and lunch, sipped from a mug. When serving the soup as the first course for dinner, I ladle it into little two-handled soup bowls. With such bowls, no spoon is required for a puree of something-or-other. I’ll have you know I verified this with Emily Post. We’re tight, Emily and me.

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Related Posts:
Birthday China for an Old Gardener
Bacchanalian Beef Stew
French Onion Soup Gratinee
French Baguettes
Tuna-Tarragon Crepes


  1. I'm going to make it!

  2. Brigid OBrien – Yeah! Hope you'll let me know how it turns out for you.

  3. Oh, Kevin, until I make this, I can only imagine how wonderful it must taste. Seems like another winner!

  4. Sounds tasty! I made a similar one with cream cheese (declasse, I know) in the slow cooker last week…I'll have to try cream next time. We got a few from our CSA.

  5. Adele – Well, I think it's wonderful…

    Claire – Actually, cream cheese sounds pretty good!

  6. Oh, you know I'm making at least four of your items this year for Thanksgiving! My boyfriend isn't partial to soup – maybe he'll welcome this one!
    Gosh it looks delicious.
    And I adore your dinnerware! A soup bowl! Should look into those…

  7. I am way too lazy to make it though it does look delicious. Found a Thai sweet potato soup in the organic aisle at Shop-Rite that we love though!

  8. Gorgeous soup. I just may use my one lone buttercup squash grown this summer. Thought I was being so smart, growing seedlings in compost heap (failed to note that heap was not in full sun, argh). One squash for 5 seedlings, not great return. Next time…

    Hey Kevin, change topic. Do you fertilize your Meyer lemon with each watering? I bought mine at Logee's and thought they recommended cutting back feeding during slow growth months. My plants seem like they'd like a little food. The planting medium Logee's offered inshop seemed like just peat and pearlite. Seems nutrient-free. Thanks!

  9. Donna B – Glad you like the 2-handled soup bowls. They are Victorian in design (I think) and actually quite practical!

    BBI – Some of those packaged organic soups are delicious, especially if you throw in some fresh herbs. Or a little booze.

    Cary – Well, that's a bummer, getting only one squash from 5 plants. But you are right — winter squash needs plentiful sunshine.

    Regarding the Meyer lemon plant. I do fertilize mine with every watering. But I use only a pinch (1/4 tsp) of acidic formula dissolved in a gallon of room-temperature water. The plant enjoys this constant-feed program, for it puts on a huge, HEAVENLY-SCENTED flower-show in late December! (If this is your first year with Meyer, get reader for a colossal treat.)

  10. Brenda Johnson says:

    I was the very happy recipient of a mug of this wonderful soup- it is SO tasty! Smoky bacon, savory onion, sweet squash… married together in a creamy soup that would WOW any guest! Just delicious! (and the splash of sherry doesn't hurt either!!!)Loved it!!!Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Brenda Johnson says:

    I was the very happy recipient of a mug of this wonderful soup- it is SO tasty! Smoky bacon, savory onion, sweet squash… married together in a creamy soup that would WOW any guest! Just delicious! (and the splash of sherry doesn't hurt either!!!)Loved it!!!Thanks for sharing!!!

  12. I can attest this is absolutely delicious having had it. It is the perfect combination is sweet and savory.

  13. Brenda – thanks for the kudos.

    despina – more affirmation! Thanks!

  14. Hi Kevin….Enjoy all your gardening tips and recipes!!!!
    Have a great fall day!!!

  15. Joann – So glad you enjoy this place. I have fun here, too!

  16. Kevin-Your butternut squash soup was easy to make and everybody that ate some absolutely loved it. Your french onion soup was excellent as well. I thank you for your gardening advice and your recipes! I use both!

  17. Kathy – What a delight to hear you liked both of the soups. And thanks for telling me you appreciate both the gardening advice and recipes. I sometimes fear that food-enthusiasts are turned off by the gardening posts, while the plant-minded are upset to see recipes!

  18. Hi Kevin – I finally made this soup tonight and it was awesome! So glad I found your blog!!!

  19. Eliza J – Glad you liked it!

  20. Kevin, I will definitely try this soup recipe. Meanwhile, here is a recipe I found for sweet potatoes that is quite a change from just roasting or mashing them. Peel and slice 2 lbs sweet potatoes into 1/3″ slices. In a large bowl whisk 2 TBSP honey, 2 TBSP melted butter, 1 TBSP fresh lime juice and 1/2 tsp (+) ground cinnamon. Toss the sweet potato slices in this until coated, then spread in single layer on a greased baking sheet, add salt and fresh-ground pepper, and bake at 400 for 25-30 min,. Fantastic!

  21. Vicki – The recipe sounds wonderful — thanks for sending. The minimal sweetening is something I appreciate. Too often, I think, sweet potatoes are overly-prepared with brown sugar, maple syrup, marshmallows, etc.

  22. Last fall I was looking everywhere for a good butternut squash recipe. Now, to find a squash – guess I might have to wait until fall.

    My cinnamon rolls turned out SO well that now I have to try most of your recipes. I’m starting with your bread recipes first apparently.

    Thank you so much. So glad I found you. Actually, someone posted about you on their facebook page regarding gardening and then shortly thereafter, minutes actually, I got Rikki’s, The Cheese Queen, newsletter and there you were again. Must be fate.

  23. This recipe sounds delicious-could you substitute pumpkin? I made the Pain de Mie and it was absolutley the best bread I have ever tasted. Thanks.

  24. I wll definitely try this Butternut Squash soup….I have one from my garden, also some onions. So this week we should enjoy a nice bowl of this delicious sounding soup. Thanks, Kevin.

  25. This was delicious!!! Thanks Kevin!

  26. Annie – So glad you tried the soup. I love it, too.

  27. I hope your NYBG presentation turned out as well as my carmelized butternut squash soup
    today. Will there be details & pictures of the lecture? My biggest cuisine critic (my daughter) gave this soup a thumbs up! The local A&P had these squash priced @ $1.49/lb. BTW, happy belated birthday Kevin.

  28. Stephanie Hamilton says:

    oh my goodness….i LOVE your posts. was searching for hours on the innerwebs for a nice pumpkin soup recipe then thought of you. i am pretty darn sure this recipe will work wonderfully well for the nice little pumpkin i just pulled out of my garden! the pumpkin is in the oven now roasting nicely. can NOT wait to see how this turns out! thanks again, Kevin, for such wonderful postings!

  29. Hi Stephanie Hamilton – If you try this soup with pumpkin instead of butternut squash, I hope you’ll let me know how it turns out for you. My guess? Delicious!

  30. Rita Chalfant says:

    I’ll have you know Kevin Lee Jacobs I have purchased my FIRST butternut squash in my life after reading about the pancakes and now this soup! Wish me well as I head to my kitchen to prepare both!

  31. Janet Livesay says:

    Hey Kevin,
    I made this soup yesterday and shortened the process by using my immersion blender.
    If you don’t have one.. go straight over the Bed Bath and Beyond and get one with your coupons.!

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