A well-balanced butternut squash soup featuring chowder-like consistency with potatoes, parsnips, fresh sage and jalapeño, all topped with bacon crumbles. A perfect cold weather soup.
Our house is rather small. A modest ranch-style home with three small bedrooms, each housing two people. In the hallway you will find a linen closet barely a foot wide and deep, and just to the right of it is the one and only bathroom for the family. It’s the size of a proper linen closet itself, and with two people in there, you’re constantly reaching over and around and pushing each other.
The selling point in our home, however, was the previous owner had converted the breezeway between the garage and tiny kitchen into a dining room. The breezeway is a long and narrow room just off the kitchen with a large sliding glass door at one end and windows at the front of the house. It holds a massive dining room table that, in turn, holds all six members of our family comfortably and still allows us to entertain a few guests when the mood strikes.
The downfalls of this large room are that it has but one tiny vent to heat it, and the cement that was left under the cheap linoleum that they put down is exceptionally cold on the feet come January, even a mild January.
So it is the midwinter months that have me simmering broths on the stove, happily stirring the steaming pot in the kitchen and then sitting down to eat around the table as a family. I smile as I look around our table, watching my kids dunk pieces of bread into creamy orange bowls and feel content.
This soup gets most of its thickness from a healthy dose of butternut squash. The peppers counteract the sweet just enough, and the bacon is essential. I may have used a piece of whole bacon yesterday as a spoon while we were eating. Just sayin’.
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 parsnips, diced
1 pound fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups butternut squash purée
1/2 cup cream
kosher salt and pepper
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat, brown bacon pieces until crisp. Remove bacon bits and set aside to drain. Spoon bacon grease out of the pan, leaving approximately 2 tablespoons’ worth. Add onion, celery and parsnips to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until onions and celery are soft. Add in potatoes, jalapeños and sage. Stir to combine and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
Pour white wine into the pot and stir to combine, deglazing the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir in the butternut squash purée and heavy cream. Stir to combine and continue cooking until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with bacon bits sprinkled liberally over the top.
Makes 8-10 meal-sized servings.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma after eating it at a church potluck in Mankato when we were visiting the in-laws. I can thank Katie Dick for bringing it, I believe, and my sister-in-law Gretchen for knowing where to find the recipe to make my own.
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