Make this soup in large batches at the end of the season when you have an abundance of squash. You can use most any hard squash— buttercup, hubbard, turban or a combination of several kinds.
- 2 large butternut squash
- 1 large onion
- 8 thick slices bacon, not from grocery store
- 2 cups rich, reduced chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
Cut the “neck” of the squash from the bulb. Split each of the resulting two pieces. Remove the seeds and pulp. Cover the squash with foil and roast in a 350° oven about an hour and a half. The squash must be very soft. The quality and size will determine the cooking time. Some pieces will take longer. Remove those that become very soft and allow the thicker pieces to finish.
While the squash are roasting, cut the bacon in 1-inch pieces. Slowly render the bacon in a heavy-bottom pan that will be used to make the soup. Start with very low heat. Raise the heat as the fat renders. Adjust the heat to prevent the bacon pieces from becoming crisp.
Peel and slice the onions. When the bacon has rendered its fat, add the onions. Cook the onions until they are very soft and beginning to color. Do not brown the onions.
Remove the pulp from the roasted squash and add it to the bacon and onion mixture. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover the ingredients. Cook for about 1 hour over medium-low heat.
Purée the soup in a food processor or blender. Pass the soup through a screen.
Taste and add salt and pepper. Remember the salt from the bacon.
At this point, you can freeze the soup or a portion of it, or refrigerate it, covered, for up to 2 days.
Reheat the soup when ready to serve. Taste and correct the seasoning. Garnish the soup with fresh herbs, sour cream, whipped cream or herb butter.
Serving idea: Reduce the amount of chicken stock and create a squash purée to serve as a vegetable rather than a soup. Place the purée in a gratin dish and bake it just enough to reheat. Drizzle with olive oil.