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Squash soup provides a true taste of autumn

I planted butternut squash in my garden this summer and am delighted with my supply to try new recipes this winter. Squash is my favourite vegetable – mostly I simply bake it with butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper.

In the past, I’ve read that you should microwave the squash before you peel it. I thought that was for lazy cooks without muscles. Today I tried it and it actually makes a huge difference: the squash peeled like an apple. So try this: cut both ends off of the squash, put the whole thing on a plate and cook for 4-5 minutes in the microwave. This softens the skin and heats up the squash so it will not take as long to roast.

If autumn had a taste, it would be this soup. I added the apple cider, but if you do not have any, add extra chicken broth until it is the consistency you want. Serve garnished with additional cooked bacon, a crumbled sharp cheese and snipped chives. And of course, a  few slices of warm homemade bread and it will warm your insides down to your toes.

 

Squash Soup with Bacon

1 medium butternut squash

4 slices bacon

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp. salt

Freshly grated black pepper

3 Tbsp. oil

1 cup apple cider

4 cups chicken broth (approx.)

2-3 Tbsp. chicken soup base

2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

pinch cayenne pepper

 

Garnishes:

Cooked crumbled bacon

Sharp cheese, crumbled

Snipped chives

 

Peel and remove seeds from squash. Cut into 1” pieces and put them on a greased baking sheet.

Cut bacon into 1” pieces, add to squash.

Cut onion into thin wedges, add to squash.

Mince garlic, add to squash.

Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with olive oil and stir until all is coated.

Bake at 400º F for 35-45 minutes or until squash is very tender and starting to brown.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly.

Puree squash mixture in the blender in batches with the apple cider and chicken broth. More broth may be needed depending on the size of squash. Pour into a large saucepan.

Add cayenne pepper, chicken soup base and thyme to the soup. Heat and check for seasonings.

To serve, top with garnishes.

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