November 15, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It's my first day back in the States and I spent the day cooking, relaxing, and slightly recovering from jet lag. I already miss the late summer nights where the sun sets at 9pm. But I can't complain about the beautiful Southern California weather. 70 degrees and sunny, $#%* I love San Diego. 

Soon after waking up, I discovered a decent supply of Bacon. American Bacon(I think the word Bacon deserves to be capitalized, all the time). The rest of the world doesn't know what they're missing out on. As much as I tried to crisp Australian bacon, it never, ever, was the same. They might as well call it Canadian. 

I thought I'd take advantage of my parents' bountiful kitchen and yard full of produce. Plus, I've nearly missed the fall season completely while traveling in Australia, so I decided to make my ultimate fall meal. Stick to your ribs, earthy fare...with Bacon.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 Medium Butternut Squash 
1 Medium White Onion
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 Slices of Bacon, cut into small chunks
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine 
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/4 Whipping Cream (or half and half)
1 Cup Hot Water (maybe more if needed) 
1/8 tsp. Freshly Ground Nutmeg
Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, deseed, and cut the butternut squash into roughly 1 inch pieces. Chop the onion into quarters and then cut each quarter in half. Place them on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil and a good sprinkling of kosher or flaked sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat each piece then throw them into the oven to roast for 50-60 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables are beginning to brown. 
When the roasting is about half way complete, chop your Bacon slices and put them into a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until crisp then pull them out to drain on a paper towel, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan. 
When the vegetables are finished, plop them into the pot and turn the stove up to high heat. Add the white wine and let the liquid reduce down until its nearly gone, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock and nutmeg then turn off the heat.
In a food processor or blender add the mixture(make sure you don't over-fill your blending machine of choice, we're adding more liquid! Do it in batches then combine later if needed.) and blend until smooth. While the machine is running, add the cream then pour the hot water in. If your soup looks too thick, keep adding hot water until it's to your desired consistency(I like mine pretty thick). Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. 

Ladle them into bowls with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and don't let those bacon pieces go to waste! Sprinkle them on for some added saltiness and crunch. This made about 4 cups of soup, about two servings by itself.

I served mine with a salad and crostini topped with goat cheese, cranberry and cinnamon (Costco holiday cheese special...Just spread it on some hearty bread and broil for about 5 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned and the bread is toasted!). My perfect fall meal! It's good to be home. 

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