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Autumn Butternut Squash Bisque

Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

This is an oldie but a goodie.  I posted this last year right before Halloween but I was without a blog.  I felt it only appropriate to bring it out of archive history for another year of sharing…especially since the weather of fall has finally rested upon us…chilly evenings deserve a giant bowl of soup!  Enjoy!
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It’s a chilly late afternoon before Halloween. Pumpkins are being carved, last-minute touches are applied to costumes, candy is stocked up, and a fragrant pot of soup is simmering on the stove.

Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons.  I favor the crisp air and the scent of chimney near dawn or dusk.  Who doesn’t welcome an extra hour of sleep!  Nostalgia sets in while watching timeless holiday cartoons on TV (It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas; Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer).  Multi-hued leaves are littering lawns and sidewalks.  Lazy, stormy days cuddled with a blanket and hot chocolate. What I love most of all during this time of year is the food; hearty, finger licking delectable holiday traditions and seasonal creations cooking up in kitchens everywhere.

As soon as the weather turns, it’s time for soup. Autumn Butternut Squash Bisque is one of my favorite soups to kick off the season.  It’s relatively quick and easy to make; healthy for you; and overall its taste reminds me of autumn wrapped up in a bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash – peeled & chopped in uniform pieces (Pinnacle Organic)
  • 2 medium potatoes – peeled & chopped in uniform pieces (Pinnacle Organic)
  • 12 fresh sage leaves (bay area local organic herbs)
  • 4-6 strips bacon (can sub pancetta, salt pork,or NO pork at all to make vegetarian) – cut in small strips (Douglas Ranch)
  • 1 shallot – diced (Pinnacle Organic)
  • 3 cloves garlic – diced (Pinnacle Organic)
  • 6 + cups chicken stock (can sub vegetable stock to make vegetarian) (my chicken stock is made from the leftover chicken bones from Pasture Chick Ranch chickens and a mirepoix of onions, celery, & carrots by Pinnacle Organic)
  • Salt / Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking (California Olive)
  • 1, 6 quart pot (recommended when using a large squash)

Optional

  • ½ cup cream to taste (Straus Organic)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes for heat
  • ¼ cup goat cheese for topping (pasture raised, raw, and my secret…)

Start off with a large butternut squash and two medium-sized potatoes.  Peel and chop the squash and potatoes.  Try to keep your pieces the same size for an even cooking time. Set aside.

Next, cut into strips, 4-6 pieces of bacon. You can substitute pancetta or salt pork.  You can omit pork all together if this is a vegetarian dish…although I don’t recommend it (sorry Mom).  Next dice one shallot and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your pot (roughly 2-3 tablespoons).  Add in the bacon, rendering the fat for a couple of minutes. Then add in the sage, shallots, and garlic.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn or your soup will be bitter.

After the bacon has cooked down, the sage wilted, and the garlic and shallots caramelized, add in the squash and potatoes. Saute the vegetables until they are soft.  Once the vegetables are soft, slowly add in 6 cups of chicken stock and bring to a light rolling boil.

Lower the temperature to a simmer once the liquid has come to a boil.  Stir the ingredients and skim the top occasionally.  Simmer for roughly 45 – 60 minutes.  Take off of heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Use a hand mixer to blend all ingredients to a silky consistency.  Salt and pepper to taste; at this time you may also add in red pepper flakes  and heavy cream if you prefer a little heat and creamier texture to your soup.

Serve in a bowl and top with your favorite goat cheese crumbles and a loaf of some crusty sour dough bread.  Enjoy and happy fall!

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