Butternut Squash Soup

 

butternut squash soup(1)Even home cooks don’t like to admit that their best dishes come straight from a magazine off the supermarket rack, but this Bon Appetit recipe for butternut squash soup is so beloved in our family that it’s become no less important than the turkey at our Thanksgiving meal.

 

I’ve tried other soups, but the best reaction to those has been polite indifference. And usually, the next year, starting in September, guests will ask, “are you making the butternut squash soup? I just love that soup.” It’s a compliment, yes, but also a tacit warning: just give us the soup we want and no one gets hurt.

 

There are three “twists” that make this soup more than just straight butternut squash soup: copious amounts of corn, a dash chipotle chilies, and a garnish of goat cheese crouton. We also garnish the soup with chiffonade of sage and bits of bacon. In a word: yum!

 

So, here’s that recipe, more or less verbatim from Bon Appetit magazine, circa 1998.

 

SOUP INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces 1/4-inch-thick slices pancetta or 4 thick bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 2 1/4-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups canned roasted-garlic chicken broth or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen sweet white corn
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage

 

GOAT CHEESE CROUTON INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

 

PREPARATION

Cut each cheese round into 8 wedges. Place eggs in small bowl. Place cornmeal in another bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, dip cheese into eggs, then into cornmeal, turning to coat. Press cornmeal gently to adhere. Place on baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour.

 

Cook pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add butternut squash, broth and chilies; simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in corn; simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer 3 1/2 cups soup to blender; puree. Mix puree into remaining soup in pan. Season with salt and pepper. (Pancetta and soup can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover pancetta; chill. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring pancetta to room temperature before continuing.) Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen cheese; brown well, about 1 minute per side.

 

Meanwhile, bring soup to simmer. Mix in sage. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with pancetta and cheese croutons.