Earlier this year when I reviewed Jennifer McLagan's Fat I noted her pumpkin and bacon soup was okay but needed something more. I liked the contrast of a silky pumpkin soup with crispy bacon crumbles, but I just thought the flavours could be a bit more.
After playing a bit I came up with this recipe, based on McLaglan's recipe and others written by Trish Magwood and Molly Katzen. It's relatively quick and more than easy--the most laborious part is blitzing the soup, but really a masher would do if you want something a bit more textured. The result is a combination of sweet, smoky and savoury silkiness that's perfect in cool autumn, winter or even early spring nights.
Butternut squash, bacon and apple soup
Yield: Approx 2-2.5 L (8-10c)
4-6 rashers bacon, crumbled and fried to a crisp, with its fat reserved
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
500g (approx 1lb) butternut squash, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
2 tart apples (Granny smith, for example), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
250ml (1c) white wine
1L (4c) vegetable stock (cold, preferably)
250ml-375ml (1-1.5c) apple cider or juice
cayenne pepper (optional)
Cook the onions until translucent in the bacon fat. Add the garlic and stir until its fragrance is released. Pour in the wine and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
Add the bacon, chunked squash and squash and give the pot a good stir. Add the apple juice and enough stock to cover. Let blurble over medium-high heat until the squash and apples are soft.
Remove from heat and mash or blitz with a blender (stick or jug) until it is as smooth as you wish. Return to the heat and add as much hot pepper as you wish. Stir, taste and balance flavours as your palate dictates.
Note: You can decide not to blitz the bacon with the soup and simply sprinkle a few shards onto the soup before serving.
I'm a quill for hire!