Butternut Squash, Garlic and Bacon soup – a delicious autumn tummy filler

I’ve spent today and the majority of this week getting very frustrated over a particularly nasty lexical semantics essay and because of this I’ve barely had anytime to do a proper food shop, which is very unlike me. So that meant that when I was searching for a scrummy essay writing snack, I was coming up with lots of odds and ends rather than a proper meal. And the best thing to do: blitz them all together! I’m so pleased with this recipe because I really didn’t expect it to be this tasty, but the sweetness of the butternut squash and garlic, plus the saltiness of the bacon and lasting taste of tomato makes for a really delicious autumn lunch or dinner.

You’ll need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large butternut squash
1/2 a red onion
3 carrots
3 large tomatoes
2 stock cubes (either chicken or vegetable) in 3/4 of boiling water each
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp double cream (this is what I had to hand, you can use single or none at all if you prefer)
Pinch of salt and pepper

Prepare the vegetables: finely slice the onion and carrots, and chop the butternut squash into large chunks. Leave the tomatoes whole. 

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Cut the bacon into small squares and fry until crispy, for about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and lie on a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain the flat and keep it crispy.

In the same pan, fry the onion and carrot in the bacon fat. After about 4 minutes, the onions should be translucent and the carrots soft.

Add the squash, tomatoes and stock to the saucepan. The stock should be just covering the tomatoes.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes. Leave them to cool, and then peel off and disgard the skins. They should have already come away slightly.

Place the tomatoes back in the saucepan and use a wooden spoon to crush them against the side, releasing their juicy goodness.

Leave the mixture to boil for another 20 minutes.

While you do this, place the garlic cloves on a baking tray and roast in the oven at about 120 degrees for about 15 minutes.

When the soup has about 2 minutes left and the cloves are cool, peel them from their skins and add the pulp to the saucepan.

Take the mixture off the heat and use a hand blender to liquidize the soup. You can leave it as smooth or chunky as you like, but I prefer this very velvety and smooth. Add the cream and make sure its well incorporated. Season to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowels and spoon a tiny bit more cream over the top. Sprinkle on the bacon (in a thin layer so that it doesn’t sink!) and enjoy!

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