Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's another soup day!

It's starting to get chilly around here! This past week has been a beautiful 70s week, but next week is forecasting low 30s and snow. Eh. But of course, there's always the benefit of more soupful days. : )
A few days ago I tried my hand at a Butternut Squash soup suggested to me by my sister.
Butternut Squash is one of my favorite foods in the whole world. I really don't think I could get sick of it. And it's a positive powerhouse when it comes to nutrients! One cup has 107% of your daily beta-carotene intake, which may help prevent acne, cancer, and macular degeneration. It also has tons of fiber, lutein (which again helps with macular degeneration and possibly colon cancer), potassium, and thaimin (a brain booster, that may help with memory and mood!)
It also has a significant amount of magnesium, which may be beneficial for allergies, asthma, cardiovascular health, high bp, and kidney stones. Wow! It also has lots of vitamin B6 and C. Talk about a healthy veggie.
I've had rather unsuccessful experiences with squash soup in the past, but have always thought it sounds just amazing. So I decided to give it one more shot. And this one had bacon and cream cheese in it, so I figured my chances were a lot better. : ) It was actually quite good! Very creamy and smooth, with a deep, yummy squash flavor. I thought it was a bit thin, so I ended up making a roux with the leftover bacon fat and flour, then mixing in a ladle of the soup, before whisking it into the soup. That seemed to thicken it up, and I think we enjoyed it more that way, but if you like thinner soups, it was really just fine. It was even better the next day reheated, after the flavors had intensified a little bit. However, although we enjoyed it, I doubt I'll go to the trouble of making it again. It was just weird enough that it wasn't something we'd eat often. But it was a fun experiment!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4-6 slices of bacon
6 cups mashed, roasted butternut squash (I usually half mine, drizzle with olive oil, and roast them in the oven at 450 for a couple hours, or until fork tender...add some butter and salt and this also makes amazing mashed squash.)
3-4 cups chicken stock
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (you could definitely cut this back, maybe even in half)

Saute onions and bacon together in a skillet until bacon is cooked and onions are translucent. In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil. Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Add to chicken stock in saucepan, and heat through. Add bacon and onions. Do not allow to boil.

*If you want a thicker soup:
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour over bacon grease in skillet. Stir together and cook until the flour absorbs the grease and turns brown. Allow to bubble and cook for a few minutes. Turn off burner and add a ladle full of soup to the skillet, stirring to combine. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the roux to the saucepan, whisking well to dissolve. Continue to cook soup until it reaches desired thickness.

I have one more soup (for now) in my archives to's been my husband's favorite so far, so you know it's good!