Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon, Pears, and Sage
Now that it is officially fall all I want to make is soups. Sundays in the fall = comfort soups and football. This soup is inspired by one that I tasted in my master culinary class 2 weeks ago. A small taste was not enough for me so I set out to make my own pot of soup. I made my own chicken broth to use for this soup (and another soup…it was a productive Sunday full of cooking) which I think makes all the difference. If you ever have the time to make your own chicken broth (something I only recently started doing – also inspired by my culinary class) I highly recommend doing so. I like to make big pots of soup that I can package into individual containers to take to work for lunch during the week. (I hate days when I don’t bring my own lunch to work. I end up paying too much for something that is just ok. But when I bring my own lunch it tastes better, is cheaper, and is always healthier.) Soup is easy to freeze so I always freeze a few portions allowing me to reheat it quickly when I have nothing else to eat in my apartment. This is a classic fall comfort soup. The pears add just a hint of sweetness to the soup that contrasts with the smokiness of the bacon and the earthiness of the sage. This soup would pair nicely with a smooth red wine such as a Merlot or Pinot Noir. Pinot Noirs can match a wide variety of flavors so are great for cocktail parties where your guests are nibbling on different hors d’oevres. Enjoy!
- 3 Butternut Squash
- 4 Strips Bacon
- 3 Pears
- 3.5 Tablespoons of finely chopped fresh Sage
- 6-8 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 4oo degrees. Cut of the top (stem part) of the butternut squash and then cut in half lengthwise. Cut lengthwise again so that you now have four wedges. Repeat for the remaining two butternut squash. Scoop out the membranes and seeds and discard. Place the squash on a baking sheet cut side up and cover with foil. Place in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes. Use a fork to test if the squash is done. It should be very soft allowing the fork puncture with minimal effort. Remove the squash from the oven allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Scoop out the roasted squash into a bowl discarding the skin.
Chop the pears and bacon strips. Finely chop the fresh sage. Heat a large stock pot or a round dutch oven on the stove over high heat. (I generally use my Le Creuset cast iron pot for soups.) Add the bacon and pears and sauté for about 6-7 minutes or until most of the fat has been rendered out of the bacon and the pears are starting to become softer. Add the sage, stir and sauté for another minute.
Add the roasted butternut squash to the pot and cover all of the contents with the chicken broth. Leave some extra broth available in case you want to thin out the soup later. Bring the pot to a boil. Once you have reached a boil, turn down to a simmer and let the soup simmer for about 20-30 minutes (making sure the pears are soft).
Turn off the stove and remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender blend the soup until you have a thick velvety texture. Add the heavy cream and blend for an additional minute. Taste and then add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. If you think the soup is too thick you can add more chicken broth here or if you prefer to to be creamier add more heavy cream. Blend again and you are ready to serve! (If you don’t have an immersion blender you can combine all of this in a traditional blender instead) Pour the soup in bowls, garnish and serve with a smooth red wine. Sip and Enjoy!