Well, it finally happened. After 18 consecutive days of blog posts for NaBloPoMo, I finally missed a day. And then I missed another. In my defense, it has been a rough week. I’ve been really distracted with my mom’s health scare and dealing with my own feelings about it, so I haven’t had a whole lot of motivation to sit down and bust out blog posts. Also, with winter in full swing, it’s making my food photography rather difficult. I only really have quality light between about noon and 3pm, so that nixes an awful lot of what I’ve been making lately! I need to figure out an artificial lighting set-up, but that has been a low priority right now.
Anyway, enough with the excuses! I’m blogging today, and I happen to have a really delicious recipe to share. One of my favourite parts about the cold weather months is the food. Soups and stews and casseroles galore – true comfort food. Butternut squash is one of my favourite fall vegetables, it’s the perfect starting point for a thick and hearty soup. Butternut squash carries so many flavours beautifully – curry, maple, coconut, rich herbs like thyme and sage… really, there’s not a lot that doesn’t pair well with it! This soup is yet another Pinterest inspiration – this Butternut Squash & White Bean soup recipe by LuSa Organics has been in the back of my mind for a little while now, and it just made it onto the menu plan this week. And like every other recipe, I used LuSa’s recipe as just a starting point, an inspiration to get my culinary juices flowing, and I adjusted things along the way to suit my own pantry contents and preferences.
If you want to make this soup vegetarian, or just don’t want to use bacon, use coconut oil, olive oil, or another fat of your choice. This recipe can very easily be adapted to being completely meat-free, but given my great love of bacon, clearly I haven’t gone that route!
Roasted Squash, Bean & Spinach Soup
(adapted from LuSa Organics)
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp aromatic herbs – I used rosemary and thyme
salt & pepper
3 cups soaked & cooked navy beans (~1 cup dried)
1/2 pound bacon
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
A couple fistfuls of spinach, cut into ribbons
Water, as needed
Start by roasting your squash. Preheat your oven to 400F. Toss the prepared squash cubes with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking pan and roast for 40-50 minutes, turning gently halfway through. (This can be done well in advance, I usually do it in the morning on the day I want to make the soup.) Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside to drain on a paper towel, keeping the bacon fat in the pot. When the bacon has cooled, crumble or cut it into small pieces.
Over medium heat, add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook another 30 seconds. Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine, scraping up all the yummy bacony goodness off the bottom of the pot.
Add cubed squash and beans, and add enough stock to cover. Bring to a simmer and add seasonings. Add water or more stock a bit at a time if the soup seems too thick, and spits when it simmers. Using an immersion blender, give the soup a few pulses to blend it up a bit for a smoother texture, but still leave lots of beans intact. Alternatively, you can remove some of the soup to a blender and puree it, and add it back to the pot.
Stir in spinach, and let simmer a couple more minutes, until the spinach has fully wilted. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with bacon crumbled over top.