Butternut Squash Soup with Apple-Bacon Relish and Toasted Butternut Squash Seeds

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    8 cups

Appears in

The Bacon Bible

The Bacon Bible

By Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

Published 2019

  • About

Butternut squash is delicious, and luckily it pairs really well with bacon. For added smoky notes, I use bacon stock at the restaurant, but you can use any of the liquids noted below. I love contrast of texture, and this smooth, velvety soup benefits from butternut squash seeds and croutons that are toasted in butter to add a nice nutty crunch and the relish that adds sweetness and a touch of acid to cut through the rich flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, about pounds (1.6 kg), halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, roasted, cloves removed
  • 4 tablespoons (55 g) unsalted butter
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) Bacon Stock or water, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or any combination
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Honey to taste
  • Apple-Bacon Relish
  • Croutons (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F (193°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Brush the cut side and top of the squash with 2 tablespoons of the oil and place on the prepared baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast until soft and the flesh is golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, let cool, scoop out the flesh and put it in a bowl, and discard the skin. Set aside.

Lower the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and line the same baking sheet with a clean sheet of parchment or foil.

Rinse the squash seeds, removing any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry and place in a small bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 teaspoon salt and mix until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until lightly golden brown and seeds begin to pop, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet before serving.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the roasted garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the squash and cook until the squash begins to deepen in color and dry out, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Using butcher’s twine, stack the sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and cinnamon on top of one another, tie together, and add to the soup. Lower the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens and the flavors meld, about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat, discard the herbs, and let cool. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using) and honey to taste, if needed. Transfer back to the pot that you cooked it in and bring to a simmer over low heat. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with a large dollop of the relish, the toasted butternut squash seeds, sage, and croutons, if desired. The soup can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat before serving.

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