Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bacon-Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

Wow.. I'm sorry guys. It really has been a long time since I posted something. A couple of people asked me why I haven't posted in a while (which was really cool, by the way..), and my only excuse is..

The holidays. Is that a valid excuse for a long hiatus? I hope so. I'm not going to try and tell y'all that I was even remotely good for Thanksgiving. Not even a "I didn't stuff myself silly".. Because I was not and I DID. I was all gravy-on-everything, multiple rolls with tons of butter, plate upon plate of "salad" (you know those marshmallow, jello, nothing good for you kind of things we call salad? Yeah that stuff), and not just one... but multiple pieces of pie. 

To those of you who were good on Thanksgiving I applaud you. You are much stronger than I.. Unfortunately, this and Christmas are two occasions that I don't want to be strong.

...You will probably never hear me say that again. 

You strict Paleo eaters can abuse me the downfalls of mass quantity crap eating later.. Actually don't. I already know. I just can't care around the holidays. It is my favorite time of year. I don't mean just the family traditions, which are a huge part but since I don't live around my family anymore it's other stuff. I mean the ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas is on TV nonstop, my satellite radio is Christmas music, no commercials, 24/7. The moment I get home from the gym I turn on my Christmas tree. I have two white elephants to plan for, a secret Santa week, doodles all over my work whiteboard like a winter wonderland that keeps growing and I'm probably annoying everyone my caroling (yes out loud) far too often. It's like something that is physically in the air and I wrap myself in it as often as possible. I really dislike the cold too.. and somehow this early snow and ice and cold isn't even getting to me this year. Tis the season!

I just love it. It makes me extra happy (which is saying a lot because I'm generally a very happy person..)


Okay enough cheesiness. On to the food. As I said earlier.. it's been remarkably cold around here for this time of year and my apartment is perpetually cold. I don't care that my thermostat says 68°.. that thing is LYING! So in an attempt to warm myself up, I made SOUP!

YAY MORE SOUP! I guest-posted on another website (which is awesome btw) with a recipe for Bacon Chicken Soup before I had this blog, and that started my kick on cooking soups. They are just perfect for this weather.. I can't help it. 

So today this is kind of my own recipe. Woohoo! I will give props to both Civilized Caveman and Passionate Paleo for the inspiration of mine between their two versions of Butternut Squash soup, though. This is a very different type of BNS (gotta abbreviate that.. way too long) soup. It's smoky and a little spicy and frankly.. doesn't taste like any other BNS soup I've ever had. Plus.. it includes bacon.. which automatically puts it on the nice list in my recipe box =)

Bacon-Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 large Butternut Squash (mine was roughly 3#, but could be bigger too) chopped into large chunks
- 1.5 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/2# Bacon, diced (I used applewood smoked which went reall well with the rest of the flavors)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small apple, diced
- 2 cups chicken stock (you know the rules.. get the good stuff)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt (or more.. to taste)
- Cinnamon 
- Nutmeg
- Ground Chipotle

1) Chop your squash, toss it in the oil, and stick it in the oven at 350° until the chunks are soft enough for a fork to pass through. This will be different depending how big your chunks, mine took roughly 45min.
2) Dice up your bacon, onion and apple. We're wasting some time here while waiting on the squash..
3) With about 15min left on the squash, start frying up your bacon in the bottom of your soup pot (dutch oven, stock pot, what have you). Fry until crispy, then remove all bacon and leave the fat in the pot! 
4) Using the same pot, saute the onion and apples together until soft. Make sure you get all the delicious stuck-on goodness.
Saute-ing goodness!

5) Once the squash is done and the onions and apples are soft, put the squash, coconut milk, and chicken stock in the pot, bringing to a low boil. 
6) Once it has boiled, remove from heat and use your immersion blender (or in my case, normal blender, a food processor also works), to blend up all the pieces.
7) Return it all to the pot again, simmering, and add your spices. I left this up to you because everyone's palettes are different and I don't want to overwhelm anyone. Start with about 1/2 TBSP of each and adjust accordingly. I ended up with roughly 1.5 TBSP of Cinnmon and Chipotle, with a sprinkling of nutmeg.. I think (honestly I don't remember.. I just poured and sprinkled until it tasted good)
8) Pour some of that goodness into a bowl and sprinkle your crispy bacon bits on top! Bon Appetit!

Cocoa Reindeer approves!

My first ME recipe! Let me know what you think! Hope everyone is having a happy happy holiday season!!