Butternut squash soup. These smooth, sultry syllables roll around the mouth in an almost indecent manner. It sounds like a steaming bowl of foreplay.
Too bad most butternut squash soup ends up being totally lame.
I mentioned to a coworker that I made butternut squash soup the other night, and she was all, ‘Why? That stuff is so bland. I thought you liked real food. Like, with flavor.’
Wow. Butternut squash soup, I apologize for what our shameful cookery has done to your good name. After all, you come from savage stock; you were wandering the wild Americas with the native peoples even before your siblings, beans and corn, came along. For your great name to be ignored (not even maligned or maliciously slandered, but casually disregarded, forgotten!); that cultural act of ours is a tragedy.
But Butternut Squash Soup don’t mind none. He’s too busy making sweet, sweet love to your tastebuds. Because instead of just laying on some cream and calling it a bisque, he’s using the sweet depth of bacon to get things going. He’s tangifying with a thick scoop of yogurt. He’s making your body tingle with the smoky heat of chipotle.
Ooh yeah, Butternut Squash Soup is about to give you his De Luxe™ Flavor Experience®.
WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY
I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but DAMN, this came out good. I didn’t follow much of a recipe (I did use Cookie and Kate’s butternut squash soup recipe as a guide for basic proportions of broth and squash), I just knew that I wanted to take this soup that was typically subtle and, honestly, boring, and make it into something that makes people go, ‘GEEZ! Gimme another bowl of that!’
You know how a bit of spiciness makes you want to eat more and more of something? I gave this just enough heat to drive that desire, and the smoke of the bacon and chipotle balanced with the clean tartness of the yogurt…
Yeah, I’m proud of this one. I ain’t changing it.
FOR THE NERDS
Maybe it’s not actual winter yet, but winter squash are in season, and they will be for months. See, winter squash, like butternut, have a thick, hard rind that preserves them fantastically. If they’re kept in the right dry, cool conditions, they’ll stay good from harvest all the way to the next spring. No extra resources need be consumed to keep them fresh.
I dig meat’s supporting role in this soup. I’ve been leaning away from meat as a stand-alone main course, except for special occasions, because I want to recognize both a) its value in having been a living animal, and b) its cost in resources. By using just a few slices of bacon as a flavor booster, I can radically deepen the taste of the soup and still keep the meal’s focus on the vegetables.
Finally, I like the combination of chipotle and squash in a nerdy meta-localist sense. It may not have anything to do with sustainability per se, but the fact that both squash and peppers are of a New World origin pleases my sense of cultural aesthetics. It also makes me wonder what other novel native flavor combinations have been lost and are waiting to be rediscovered.
ENOUGH PEDANTICS! BRING ON THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP!
He’s gonna be the bacon in your pepper in your squash. He’s gonna be the scoop of yogurt swimming in the sauce. He’s gonna make you close your eyes and open your mouth and want more. He’s the Butternut Squash Soup.
- 1 butternut squash
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 of a chipotle canned in adobo
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 quart chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 500°F. Cut bulb off of butternut squash, then cut bulb in half (removing the seeds and pulp) and the stem into lengthwise quarters. These small pieces will cook much more quickly. Rub with olive oil or butter, then roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes.
- In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the bacon, then remove. Add the onion and sauce until translucent, add the garlic, and turn the heat down to low until the squash is ready.
- When the butternut squash has roasted for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool until you are able to handle it (about 10 minutes). Scoop the flash from the skin and discard the skin.
- Add the butternut squash flesh, half of the bacon (crumbled), and the chipotle, rosemary, salt, and stock, and bring to a simmer.
- Turn off heat and add the yogurt. With an immersion blender or in batches in a standing blender, blend until smooth. Serve with the remaining bacon as garnish.