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Favorite fall foods: Maple bacon butternut squash soup

DSCN0063While it may not the be most sophisticated dish, and is probably a little overplayed, as soon as the air gets chilly and leaves start to turn I get a hankering for Butternut Squash soup. More specifically, I get the hankering to make it at home.

Few soups – or any kind of dish for that matter – warm my belly like a piping hot bowl of sweet butternut squash soup. My version has evolved over the last few years, as I keep trying other recipes and stealing the bits that I really liked and adding to my own.

For those that feel like taking advantage of the bounty of squash in the produce section right now, I’ve posted the most recent incarnationof my recipe that I made for some friends a few weeks back.

What about you? What dish does the looming cold weather make you crave?

Maple bacon butternut squash soup

2lbs butternut squash, peeled seeded and chopped into 2 inch cubes

6 slices of thick bacon

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 shallot, minced

1 sweet onion, diced

1/2 cup small dice carrot

1/2 cup small dice celery

½-teaspoon caraway seeds

2 thyme sprigs, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped sage

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

11/2 quarts chicken stock

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

Maple syrup (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place bacon slices on a rack and bake in the over until crisp, 15-20 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to cool. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.

Spread the chopped squash on a foil lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil evenly, and lightly coat with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast the squash in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash begins to brown and is fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a stockpot with olive oil over medium high heat. Add the diced onions, carrots, and celery and sweat for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and shallots, and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and vinegar to the pot and immediately add the squash, sage, thyme, caraway seeds, and bay leaves. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook the soup for at least 30-45 minutes. If your stockpot is high enough, you can use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. If not, you can do this in a blender or food processor in batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the bacon and serve in the center of each bowl. Drizzle maple syrup over the bacon and enjoy.

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

15 comments Add your comment

carla roqs

October 28th, 2011
8:12 am

not sure why you and john insist upon making me hungry for savory foods at 7 am in the morning. eye roll


October 28th, 2011
8:18 am

I’m a soup girl too, but I love tortellini soup with lots of veggies and italian sausage. Or Steak soup! Or… BLT soup…. or loaded potatoe soup! Or Italian Wedding… Or… beef bourguignon. Or Chili. Speaking of which… making a pot of my prize-winning chili tonight for a chili cook off tomorrow. I’m making a double batch to throw some in the freezer. But I think my favorite thing is to make a big pot of red sauce (my great-grandma’s recipe), make a triple batch of meatballs, and get some crusty bread… and then throw the rest in the freezer. I make a bunch of mini meatballs for the italian wedding soup, and bigger ones for the spaghetti. Flash freeze them, and throw them in bags. Makes me happy!!


October 28th, 2011
8:26 am

I cannot WAIT to try this recipe this weekend. I spend two days this week making Spicy Pumkin chili….We intended to freeze more of it than we did…but we couldn’t stop eating it! LOL!


October 28th, 2011
8:33 am

Can’t wait to try this out this weekend, sounds terrific!


October 28th, 2011
8:45 am

I made a version of this last weekend. Tip: careful holding the squash when taking out the meat. Use gloves or towel. Guess how I know this.
Such a great soup.


October 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Jon, would maple bacon suffice in lieu of actually drizzling maple syrup on the soup?


October 28th, 2011
9:31 am

This reads well, I look forward to trying this recipe.


October 28th, 2011
10:46 am

Fall is kick-off time for soups and sauces… On my list is Split Pea with ham, Matzo Ball with chicken and a big pot of Bolognese sauce. I’ve already made the first round of Split Pea and the Bolognese… Matzo Ball may be the soup du jour this weekend with the cold snap coming…. Mushroom soup is waiting for Thanksgiving and French Onion will make its appearance at Christmas. Gotta love soup!!!


October 28th, 2011
11:54 am

I understand why people would turn to the hearty soups with fall vegetables but I still crave the tropical-flecked soups of Southeast Asia like pho on a cold day.

Something about the fragrant herbs and delicate, not heavy broth with the bite of chiles warms more than my belly. Just evoke a momentary vacation from sweaters and ugg boots to a humid, languid land redolent with filmy cotton clothing and bare feet.


October 28th, 2011
1:43 pm

Kar, I can definitely understand that. Pho is comfort food.


October 30th, 2011
10:10 am

John – I really don’t want to distract from your column, but can you answer one question? Why do you (and many others) publish recipes where you specify the amount of 1 ingredient (eg – carrots) using cups as measurement, then another similar ingredient (eg – onions) using units as a quantity? I have the same question about herbs (tsps vs sprigs).

BTW – When the temperature drops I start craving Italian Stewed Chicken with Peppers served over linguine. Another favorite is Pork Shoulder braised in apple cider and Calvados served w/roasted sweet potatoes, fordhook limas and chilled apple sauce!


October 30th, 2011
11:15 am

Does anyone actually eat this stuff. The best soup comes in a can. Except for Gumbo and it has to be homemade.


October 30th, 2011
2:13 pm

Soups, stews, even chicken and dumplings are a staple during the fall and winter months. Quick to reheat and paired with a salad or a sandwich, a meal is on the table in a matter of minutes after a long work day. Made a smoked chicken chili yesterday (using chicken breasts I smoked myself on my new smoker) and I have a couple if meals ready for the upcoming week.


October 31st, 2011
10:33 am

MsBulldawg: now you did it, I’m gonna have to make some chicken & dumplings now.

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