Autumn is my favorite time of year and one of the things I love about it is the huge bounty of winter squashes and pumpkins available in the markets. I titled this pumpkin soup but I used a beautiful orange squash from my mom’s garden. I think it’s an orange hubbard squash but don’t quote me on that.
Breaking down a winter squash or pumpkin can be challenging. I use the method for peeling and cutting melons and pineapples I learned long ago at my first job after college at a salad bar. Cut the stem and flower ends off the squash. Set one end firmly on a cutting board and working from top to bottom with a large chef’s knife, cut the peeling off in strips, working your way all around the vegetable. Once the peeling is removed, cut in half, remove the seeds (save them to toast later), and dice the rest of the squash. Removing the peeling first with this method is easier than trying to cut all the way through a hard shelled squash.
This soup was conceived as an alternative to creamy potato soup with fewer carbs and more nutrients. I’m impressed by how well it turned out. I used an immersion blender to puree the soup but it can be pureed in batches in a food processor or standard blender, too. I guesstimated at how many cups of squash I used since I forgot to weigh it before I cut into it or measure it before dropping it in the soup pot. I didn’t add salt to the recipe since the bacon supplied enough. If you use reduced salt bacon, you may need to add a teaspoon or more. Coconut milk is optional but I like the added creaminess.
6 cups of chicken stock or water
5 cups squash, rough chopped
1/4 lb bacon, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 14oz can coconut milk, optional
In a large stockpot, saute the bacon until the fat is rendered, stirring often. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add carrots, celery, squash, chicken stock, and white pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for at least an hour until all the veggies are soft. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Puree and serve.