1/4 pound of bacon
1 small-medium butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 sprig with 5-6 fresh sage leaves (substitute 1 tsp. dried if you don't have fresh)
4 c. low sodium chicken broth
3 Tbs. sherry
1/4 c. half and half
Crumbled bacon from above
Sour cream, if desired
1. Peel the butternut squash, either by cooking it (see below) or using a peeler. If you use a peeler, cut the squash into 1/2" cubes.
2. In a stockpot over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp and set aside on paper towels. Discard all but 1 Tbs. of the bacon fat.
3. Add the onion and sugar to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage leaves and cook one minute more.
4. Add the chicken broth and squash, and simmer 10-15 minutes if squash is pre-cooked or 30-45 minutes if squash is cubed (until squash is tender).
5. Remove the sage and reduce heat to low. Add the sherry.
6. Using an immersion ("stick") blender, puree the soup until smooth. If using a regular blender, puree in batches with the blender no more than 1/2 full.
7. Serve with crumbled bacon and sour cream on the side.
Makes approximately 5 main dish or 10 appetizer servings.
Good to know
If you can get your hands on an organic or farmstand squash, this is a great way to prepare it! This soup plus salad and loaf of crusty fresh bread make a fresh and tasty meal.
Butternut squash can be difficult to peel. Two recommended methods:
- Use a palm peeler like the chef'n peeler here. Because the peeler is in your palm, you have more leverage and it takes less effort to peel a butternut's thick skin.
- If you have time, cook the squash first. Cut it in half and remove the seeds. Place cut sides down in a 9x13 pan, add an inch of water, and cook at 350 until squash can be pierced easily with a fork, about 30 minutes. Cool and scoop squash from the skin, discarding skin.
Sage is a pretty but tough perennial plant with soft textured blue-gray leaves that grows well in a pot. I have sage, thyme, chives and mint in pots on the driveway between my two garage doors, easily available from the kitchen.
Instead of peeling off slices of bacon to estimate a 1/4 pound, try cutting through the bacon and the plastic packaging crosswise, creating very short strips that are 1/4 of the length of the full slices. You can more accurately estimate the amount and you don't get your hands as dirty - just dump the short slices into the pan.