Up until very recently, I wasn’t entirely sure butternut squash even was. I definitely couldn’t have picked one out of a vegetable lineup. Actually, I’m still not sure if it is any different from the decorative gourds that we see scattered all over every white person’s porch this time of year.
Anyway, like it says in the Bible, “all good things begin with bacon.” I think that was most likely in the New Testament. This bisque falls headfirst into that category. Between caramelizing the ingredients in bacon fat, and ending the process with a topping of crispy, crumbled slivers of said bacon, this is not the butternut squash soup you’ve had in the past.
This recipe is the perfect kickoff to any holiday meal. Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Arbor Day, National Hot Dog Day… You get the idea. Don’t let the daunting task of peeling and chopping a squash deter you from tackling this recipe. It’s worth every bit of work that goes into it just like any noteworthy accomplishment. Such as joining the mile-high club for instance. Those lavatories are like, really small.
makes 8 servings
- 8 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1″ chunks (about 1 large squash)
- 2 ½ cups carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 ½ cups golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1″ chunks
- 1/2 pound bacon, sliced and chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup sliced shallots (about 3 or 4 shallots)
- 1 ½ tablespoon garlic, finely chopped (about 4 cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups (48 ounces) of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped (optional)
In a large deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook just until crisp, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels using a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Add shallots and garlic to fat and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add squash, carrots, apples and all spices and stir well to combine. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to caramelize and soften. About 15 minutes.
Add chicken stock and simmer, continuing to stir occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 or 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then in batches, blend in blender until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender here as well.)
Transfer soup back to large pot over medium heat and stir in cream. Bring to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with bacon and chives and serve.