Butternut Squash Soup with Curry, Corn and Bacon
From Geoff Last
- 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 8 oz. slab of thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1 T. turmeric
- 1 t. ground cumin
- 1/2 t. ground coriander
- 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 T. kosher salt
- 1/2 t ground black pepper
- 4 c. home made (or high quality store-bought) chicken stock
- 1 c. corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned
- 1 14-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- crème fraîche and minced chives for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Brush both cut sides of squash with olive oil and lay them cut side down on a baking sheet. Pierce the outer skin several times with a fork and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the flesh and coarsely chop into rough 1-inch chunks and set aside.
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until just starting to turn crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the olive oil to the bacon fat, then add the onion and sauté over low heat for a half hour to caramelize it. Combine all the spices and salt together in a small bowl and add the mixture to the onion, frying the spices for a couple of minutes to release their flavours. Add the reserved squash and fry for another couple of minutes to combine, then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about a half hour, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and purée in batches until smooth (I like to leave a little texture in the mixture), then return to the pot. Add the corn, chickpeas, cream and bacon and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste for salt, adding a little if necessary, and serve, garnishing with crème fraîche and minced chives. Serves 8.