It's that time of year: the temperature is cool, the boots get dusted off, the mums are out at the farmers' market, and produce changes from tomatoes and corn to squash and potatoes. Fall time!! And if you're in Boston right now, fall time means cool rainy weather, which puts me in the mood for soup more than anything else.
With two butternut squash to cook from our last Farm Share box, I decided to make Butternut Squash soup one night. Other than peeling these vegetables, which is not only time consuming but also a feat that puts me in fear of amputating a finger or hand every time I give it a go*, this recipe is easy and really delicious. Without the bacon this dish would be vegan, so to those with an aversion to meat, don't let that deter you from using the recipe! *Seriously, if anyone has a tip for how to peel a butternut squash more easily (and prior to roasting) please let me know!
This recipe was great because every produce item used (with the exception of the garlic) was from our Farm Share: the squash, carrots, and the apple. Even the thyme was from our little window box garden!
And a tip: if you like to make soup or purées a lot and don't have a hand blender, I highly recommend one (we have the Cuisinart Smartstick Hand Blender). It makes puréeing a breeze! It's also a good alternative to a food processor (albeit a tiny one and only for chopping) if you live in a city and have an apartment where storage--specifically kitchen storage--is a challenge.
Farmhouse Butternut Squash Soup
4 bacon slices
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 lbs. carrots, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 thyme sprigs
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
3 1/2 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 c. water
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
Cook bacon in a 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.
Add garlic and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, carrots, apple, thyme, bay leaves, broth, water, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.
Purée about 4 c. soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Or, if you have a hand blender like the one I mentioned before, just stick it in the pot and purée away! Return to pot and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve topped with crumbled bacon.