I just don’t tend to get excited about soup. Even in winter. But occasionally, just occasionally I do have it and when I do I usually end up loving it. There are so many chances to build layers of flavour here, from the roasting process which adds caramelisation and a much deeper flavour than steaming or boiling, to the whole bulb of garlic which softens as it roasts in the oven, to the final touches with some pungent blue cheese crumbles, some salty bacon and the crunchy pumpkin seeds scattered on top.
I never throw away the seeds as they are rich in calcium and zinc. Often I use them as a topper to the squash or pumpkin I’m cooking. Because it feels natural that they are there, and the contrast of texture is really nice. Even if I’m not going to use them in the recipe, they are so tasty just as a snack on their own – like a cross between roasted nuts and popcorn!
Its nice to have a touch of bacon, because well, bacon. I felt I could’ve been on shaky territory serving this butternut squash soup for dinner but I figured the bacon crumbled on top just saved me. Not that my husband would ever have a bad word to say about something I cooked, he is so polite in that way. But he is definitely a meat eater. I sometimes like to cut back, and something like this is a nice compromise for both of us.
I have to say, our kids did not eat this. I didn’t offer any blue cheese or bacon and it was still rejected. However I did get them to dip some mini bagels into the soup. In a way, I was kind of pleased that the baby didn’t want this, because it showed that he is so used to eating whole foods with his hands, the Baby Led Weaning way. He just kept trying to grab the soup rather than be spoonfed and seemed frustrated with the texture. He has never been given pureed food, instead choosing to gum/gnaw on whatever we were eating that he liked the look of.
- ½ butternut squash, seeds reserved
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 5 strips of bacon
- Squeeze of lemon
- 100g/1/2 cup blue cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 200c/375f.
- Wash the seeds under some cold running water in a colander to separate the pulp. Dry on a paper towel and set in a small oven proof bowl. Lightly toss with olive oil and salt.
- Cut the ends off of the bullb of garlic and set it inside the pumpkin well. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and the garlic and season well. Place the seeds into the oven too. Roast for 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft, then take out the garlic and the seeds. Continue roasting the squash for another 30 minutes or until soft through when pricked with a fork.
- Take the squash out of the oven and place the bacon in the oven to crisp up, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, scoop the flesh out of the skin and place in a blender.
- Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out and place in the blender.
- Heat the chicken stock and add that to the squash.
- Add the squeeze of lemon and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once crisp, drain the bacon on paper towels and crumble on top. Garnish with seeds and blue cheese crumbles.