It's now September. September is the month for squash and apples...for changing leaves and cooler weather. I've seen the sun begin to go down earlier and earlier.
And yet...nobody seems to have let northern California know that fall is on the way. It's still over 90 degrees here!
Numerous people have insisted to me that this is just not the weather for soup, much less squash soup. But I'm tired of waiting. I love the fall...apples...squash...the whole lot! Instead of waiting, I'm rebelling. I am going to will fall to start. I'm going to turn up the air conditioner, wear a sweatshirt, and eat the best squash soup ever.
It's hearty. It's savory. It's delicious.
Okay, okay...I realize that the appropriate setting for a soup of this type is in a fall-colored bowl surrounded by orange and red leaves and squash and gourds. If it upsets you that my above picture did not reflect this, please see the above description of California...then pity me.
You know a recipe is going to be delicious if it contains bacon...and this one does! If you are a vegetarian, it's okay to leave it out. But if you want an over-the-moon dining experience, throw it in! In fact, throw in the entire package. I can justify doing this because I used turkey bacon, right?
Place the bacon in a pot, and cook, stirring often, until it's nice and crispy. Remove to a separate dish, keeping the bacon grease in the pot. (To reduce fat content, feel free to remove as much bacon grease as you like.)
Next, pour about 3/4 of a box of chicken broth (or 3 cups) into the pot to deglaze it a bit.
Chop up about 2 carrots and 3 potatoes, and drop them into the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat slightly. Let them simmer until they get nice and tender.
While your veggies are simmering on the stove, use a fork to punch holes into a butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds). Microwave on high for 10-15 minutes, rotating ever few minutes, until it's soft when squeezed. Make sure you use a potholder when turning or squeezing it...don't forget and be like me. :-)
When your squash is done, cut it in half lengthwise and then just run a knife along the edges to remove the peeling. Also remember to cut it down the middle and remove the seeds from the inside...don't forget and be like me.
Place your squash into a blender or food processor, and add the last cup of chicken broth. Blend until nice and smooth.
Once your carrots and potatoes are tender, add the pureed squash to the pot and stir it in.
Finally, add about a cup of corn (if you use frozen corn, you don't need to thaw first) and some seasonings to taste. I recommend a teaspoon or two of Creole seasoning (or just a teaspoon each of salt and pepper), a teaspoon of cumin, and a half teaspoon of nutmeg.
Stir into the soup and continue simmering until the corn has heated through.
Finally, sprinkle bacon bits over the top of each serving!
I love this soup and often make it using two cans of pumpkin instead of butternut squash. Sometimes I leave the bacon out, other times I add chicken and beans. It's a great soup to modify to your own tastes, and nutritionally you can't go wrong!
Hearty Squash Soup
butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds) or two cans of pumpkin
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup corn
1-2 t. Creole seasoning
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. nutmeg
Cook bacon in large stockpot until crispy; remove to a separate dish. Pour 3 cups chicken broth into pot and add carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, use a fork to punch several holes in the butternut squash. Microwave on high for 10-15 minutes or until tender when squeezed (rotate several times while cooking). Peel and remove seeds. Place in a blender or food processor with 1 cup of chicken broth and process until smooth. Add to stockpot.
Add corn and seasonings; simmer until heated through. Sprinkle reserved bacon pieces over each serving. Serves 6.
Nutrition (calculated with just one cup of turkey bacon for the whole recipe): 270 cal, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 13mg cholesterol, 1263mg sodium, 51g carbs, 6g fiber, 4g sugar, 12g protein, 233% vit. A, 84% vit. C, 8% calcium, 17% iron.
Linked up with This Week's Cravings: Soups!