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Butternut Squash + Apple Soup with Bacon Croutons

November 13, 2012

I think butternut squash is my new Brussels sprout. Between the risotto, warm salad, and secret pasta variations I’ve created recently, this seasonal root vegetable sure has made an entrance. And stayed a while… Luckily, I don’t tire too quickly of lovely fall flavors, and this soup combines several of them. Liz made a great butternut squash soup a while back and while these two recipes include many of the same ingredients apart from butternut squash (namely bacon…), but are a bit different in execution. Rather than pulsing my version in a food processor or blender, I kept it chunky making sure to make all of my chopped vegetables a manageable size. This recipe also includes tart Granny Smith apples and I unnecessarily added some homemade, grease me up bacon croutons. Delish. It is possible those croutons are why I am not tire of butternut squash just yet…

Butternut Squash + Apple Soup with Bacon Croutons
adapted from Epicurious

6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
day old bread or baguette cut into 1″ pieces
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 pound boiling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium Granny Smith apples (about 3/4 pound total), cut into match sticks
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 1/2 to 4 cups)
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or broth
2 to 2 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook bacon in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in pot.

Saute baguette slices in bacon fat for 3-5 minutes, until coated. Transfer to baking sheet and set aside.

Cook celery, carrot, and onion in fat in pot over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add olive oil if most of the rendered fat was transferred to the croutons. Add cinnamon and cook, uncovered, stirring, 1 minute.

While vegetables are cooking, peel potatoes and coarsely chop. Peel and core 1 apple and coarsely chop.

Stir squash, potato, chopped apple, stock, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into onion mixture, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While soup is heating, cut enough of remaining apple into thin match sticks (about 1 1/2-inches long) to measure about 1/2 cup. Also, bake croutons in oven for about 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Croutons should be golden brown.

Serve soup topped with bacon, croutons, and apple match sticks.

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