Smoky Butternut Squash Soup
Yes yes, I love soup, I love roasted squash, I know. But this has both of those things! And despite the pork and dairy tags, it’s easy to make this vegetarian (don’t sprinkle it with bacon) or vegan (omit the cream), and barely a sacrifice. (Hell, after trying it this way, I’d rather just eat the bacon and then have the soup. Maybe it would have liked smokier/saltier bacon better — this was maple bacon, and the sweet may have played too hard off the sweet nuttiness of the squash.) Roommates liked it, which is good, since it made an awful lot — I’ll be freezing it and seeing how it does in there, but I suspect it will do pretty well. If you want to make it a bit fancier, you can strain it through a fine sieve to get potato peel bits and chunks of squash fiber and pepper out, but I didn’t, because that’s boring and dirties a bunch more dishes.
Smoky Butternut Squash Soup, adapted from Crepes of Wrath
2 lbs. butternut squash chunks (or 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed)
1 lb. or so fingerling potatoes, cut into pieces about the same size as the squash cubes
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
olive oil (kind of a lot)
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 pinch cinnamon
6 c. veg broth
1-2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. heavy cream
6-8 slices bacon
3-4 scallions, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F. Get a couple squares of foil; put the shallots in one and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle on some salt, and do the same with the garlic in the other. Wrap them up tight so they don’t leak and set them aside. Put the potatoes and squash bits on a sheet tray and drizzle liberally with oil, then sprinkle with the paprika, chili powder, coriander and cinnamon. Roast the lot for 30-40 minutes or until the squash bits and potatoes are fork tender and browning around the edges, then scrape it into a big old soup pot. Add the garlic and shallots and their oil, too.
Pour in a few cups of broth and hit the whole mess with an immersion blender (or you can blend in batches with a regular one) — you’re looking for a good smooth puree with no bits of potato skin. Turn the heat to medium-low, stir in the rest of the broth and taste for seasoning. Mine needed a bit of acid (I used lemon juice) and a lot of salt. Let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, then stir in the cream.
Meanwhile, fry up your bacon and crumble it. Serve soup topped with scallions and bacon and accompanied by some manner of bread!