Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Pumpkin Seeds

*Photo updated October 2011*

Inspiration: Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. I’m a lucky girl and have a lot to be thankful for, and to me, there’s not a better holiday than one devoted to celebrating life’s fortunes with all of the people you love the most.  Combined with great food and the warmness of the holiday season, there’s really nothing better. Before heading home for the best, best, best meal of the year (love you Mom/Brandon’s Mom/Grandma), I wanted to make a meal for Brandon and I that really said fall, since I know that after Thanksgiving, I’ll be in full Christmas/winter mode. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

What we Loved: The flavor of this soup was fantastic. Brandon and I had never had butternut squash before this meal, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The soup doesn’t have a tremendous amount of ingredients, so I was a bit worried about it being bland and tasting only like…pumpkin?…but the meal was anything but bland. The soup itself had a nice, slightly sweet flavor, almost tasting like it had cinnamon and all sorts of sweet spices added in, even though it didn’t. Paired with the savory elements of onion and garlic, salty bacon, and nutty pumpkin seeds, I couldn’t imagine a better combination of flavors. This was a creamy, sweet, salty, bacony, heartwarming soup, and what I loved most was that it just screamed fall.

Tips: My soup ended up being pretty thick when it was done cooking (almost more like a puree), so I ended up adding in about an extra cup of chicken stock at the end. The consistency will depend on the size of your squash, so I’d recommend just throwing some more stock into the pot if you think you might need a soupier consistency. The soup tastes great with the thick/puree-like texture too, though, so it will depend upon your preferences.

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Pumpkin Seeds
Source: Former Chef

I omitted a few ingredients and modified this recipe just a bit. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

1 large butternut squash
6 slices bacon, sliced into small pieces
1 onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1. Peel the squash, remove the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1 inch chunks.

2. Heat a dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, and cook until crispy. Remove most of the bacon from the pot, setting aside for a topping for the soup. Leave some of the bacon and the bacon fat in the pot for flavor within the soup.

3. Add the onions to the pot, and cook until softened. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

4. Add the chicken stock and the squash, and simmer until the squash is tender, approximately 30 minutes.

5. While the soup is cooking, add the pumpkin seeds to a small sauce pan, and cook over low heat until they are starting to brown, just a few minutes. Remove from the heat to avoid burning.

6. Puree the soup by adding it in batches to a food processor or by using an immersion blender.

7. Season the soup with the salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. I’m always sparing with nutmeg, as too much tends to dominate the flavor of the meal, so you should season to preference.

8. Serve the soup, topping it with the bacon crumbles and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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