I LOVE THIS BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP. It’s a blissful brew of caramelized squash, smokey bacon, savory thyme, and smooth sherry, all blended to perfumed perfection. It’s delicious for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. I often serve it as the first course for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Everybody loves it! Here’s the recipe:
Note: I originally wrote about this soup back in 2011. But because I’m taking pictures for my cookbook, I thought you wouldn’t mind a re-write.
Would you believe I grew this handsome hunk of a squash myself? ‘Tis true.
I’m sure you are impressed, and think me a genius.
Hey! We’re doing fractions!
True Confession: As a young student, I sucked at fractions. But just look at me now, halving…quartering…and “eigth-ing.” My fourth grade teacher, Miss Horswill (we didn’t use “Ms.” back then), would be shocked indeed.
Ugh. Miss Horswill. She was not the nurturing type. I suspect that Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess would refer to her this way: “A nastier woman never drew breath.”
But back to our soup-making.
Bake the squash for exactly 45 minutes.
No pictures for these next two steps: Quickly wash out and dry the big pot you’ve been using. Then return the pureed bacon and onions to the pot.
If you are not going to serve the soup right away, let it cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for up to 4 days. When you are ready to serve, just return the soup to a boil, and add a little more cream.
Obviously, your comfort is very important to me.
Need a printer-friendly copy-and-paste version of the above? Here goes:
Kevin’s Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients for about 3 quarts
One large (4-lb) butternut squash (or two smaller ones)
A drizzle of olive oil
8 slices bacon , cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow or white onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and grinds of black pepper
A generous 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (triple the amount for fresh, chopped leaves)
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
1/3 cup heavy cream
Optional: Sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish
Special Equipment: a heavy-bottomed 6-quart pot or Dutch oven; a food processor with metal blade attached
Preheat oven to 375°F, with oven rack at the lower-third position
Peel the squash, and then cut the flesh into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubes on a baking sheet, coat them with olive oil, and roast until tender and slightly colored — 40-45 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, put the chopped bacon in a heavy-based pot set over a low flame. Cook slowly until the fat is rendered — about 8 minutes. Do not drain off the fat.
Stir the onions into the bacon, and add the seasonings (salt, pepper and thyme). Cover the pot, and let cook gently over a low flame just until the onion is soft but not colored — about 20 minutes.
Put the bacon mixture and one cup of chicken stock in the food processor. Process until perfectly smooth — about 30 seconds.
Quickly wash out and dry the pot, and then return to it the (now-pureed) bacon mixture.
Tip the cooked squash and one cup of chicken stock into the food processor (you needn’t clean the work-bowl first), and process until smooth.
Pour the pureed squash into the pot, along with the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock. Then stir in the sherry and the cream. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat, and let the soup simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Ahead of time note: If you are not going to serve the soup right away, let it cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days. When you are ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil, and then stir in a little cream.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish, if you wish, each serving with a sprig of fresh thyme.
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