I am pretty picky when it comes to vegetables AND soups, and when the two are combined I haven't really found many that I enjoy. Squash has been one vegetable that I have really come to love- I've shared some recipes for squash pickles and spaghetti squash on the blog before. For fall, it just seems necessary to make as many squash recipes as possible, so I decided to try making butternut squash soup for the first time. I figured if I came up with enough delicious toppings and ingredients, there's no way I couldn't love it! My husband and I love the roasted red pepper and tomato soup from Trader Joe's, so I thought that adding the roasted red pepper would really add some extra flavor to the soup and compliment the butternut squash. As I usually do for recipes, I started scouring Pinterest and reading different recipes and then pulling my favorite elements from each. This recipe from Damn Delicious gave me the idea to incorporate the bacon in the soup. After a little trial and error with my ingredient amounts, the finished product was so delicious and a definite fall staple recipe!
Here's what you need to make your soup:
FOR THE SOUP
2 butternut squash (about 3 pounds each), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks (here's the tutorial I used)
1 red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2.5 cups chicken stock (you may need more depending on how thick your soup turns out)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 slices bacon, diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
garlic butter croutons (optional- I love Trader Joe's cheese and garlic croutons or Texas Toast brand)
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Chop all you veggies: squash (peel, seed and chop- find out how here), onion, and red pepper. If pre-cut veggies are available at your grocery it will cut your prep time down a lot.
Toss your veggies with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper ( I use a generous teaspoon of each).
Spread your veggies onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with one more tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper if you think it's needed (I always do!).
Top your veggies with 4 slices of bacon. Roasting them together will infuse the flavors and your whole house will smell wonderful!
Roast your veggies and bacon at 450 for 30-40 minutes or until your butternut squash is soft and tender. I tossed my veggies and flipped the bacon about halfway through cooking. While your ingredients are roasting, you can cook the bacon for your topping in a skillet until crispy.
Using a food processor or an immersion blender, puree your roasted veggies and bacon, thyme, and chicken stock until smooth. Add the pureed mixture to a large pot on the stove with the heat on medium to high.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in more chicken stock if your soup is too thick for your liking.
Top with crumbled bacon, feta cheese, chives, and croutons! I really enjoyed the heat and depth of flavor the red pepper adds to the soup. Many butternut squash soups are very bland but this had tons of layers of flavor thanks to the smoky bacon and crisp red onion. Topping it with extra bacon and croutons adds a wonderful crunchy texture and the feta cheese adds a bit of tangy flavor. This is a perfect fall meal and is also delicious as a leftover. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, but how can you go wrong with that much bacon and yummy toppings?