Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love watching the leaves change to vibrant colors then gently dance to the ground, filling the streets in a blanket of red and golden hues. I love breathing in the crisp cool air, wearing scarves and drinking pumpkin lattes. One of the downsides of fall is knowing our Farmer’s Market will only be open for three more weeks…sadness. But in the last few remaining, the stands are full of fresh crisp apples and vibrantly colored pumpkins, squash and gourds. One of the best varietals for cooking is called the Kabocha Squash. The outer skin may be orange or green and inside the flesh is thick and meaty with a wonderful buttery flavor; perfect for a roasted squash soup.
It takes about an hour to roast the flesh of the squash, which turns the meat into a deliciously tender tasty treat. Lather it in butter, salt and pepper just before roasting and you can eat it just like that. But one bite of Roasted Squash Soup with Chanterelles and Crisp bacon and you’ll realize it is worth the extra effort.
One of the highlights of attending IFBC2014 was having Aneto be one of the sponsored vendors. They offer 100% all natural Chicken broth. What a surprise when they handed out an apron to every attendee with their blog name embroidered on the front!
And a cook in the kitchen can never have too many aprons!
A tasty addition to the squash soup are the shallots. The skin of the shallot is a beautiful hue of lavender and literally I could eat the whole pan of sauted shallots, especially when they get that crunchy little edge on them. I had to add them to the puree quickly before I ate them all, not joking; they are that good!
And another one that is hard not to nibble away are the chanterelle mushrooms that garnish the soup. They have a rich buttery, earthy flavor that is simply delicious.
In the end, after adding all these wonderful rich fall flavors, you have a soup that will warm your soul.
Roasted Squash Soup with Chanterelles & Crisp Bacon
Cut Kabocha Squash in half and remove all seeds and stringy inner parts.
Slice kabocha halves into smaller triangular parts and lay them on a cookie sheet covered in foil. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter and baste each piece, coating all sides except the outer skin. Salt & pepper generously.
Place squash in a 425 degree oven and bake 50-60 minutes or until outer edges slightly brown and meat is tender by inserting a fork into the center.
Remove squash from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Chop shallots into small sections and saute in 1 tbsp of butter and 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook until brown crispy edges form and shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Saute sage and thyme in 1 Tbsp butter 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, about 3 minutes on medium heat.
Remove outer skin from all cooked squash pieces.
Place 1/3 of cooked squash into a blender, add sauted shallots and herbs, and 11 ounces of chicken stock. Puree.
Remove from blender and place in a large soup pan or stock pot.
Place another 1/3 of cooked squash in blender along with 11 oz of chicken stock and puree. Add to soup pot, then add remaining squash and chicken stock to blender, puree. Add to soup pot.
Stir in 2 Tbsp sherry and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Simmer but do not bring to a rolling boil.
Salt and pepper soup to taste.
Slice bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp but not burnt.
Saute chopped chanterelle mushrooms until tender.
Pour soup into individual bowls and garnish with chanterelles and crisp bacon, Serve warm.