Roasted Butternut Squash and Pepper Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

To Roast the Veggies:

1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded ,and cut in 1-inch chunks

1 onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2-3 Tbsp Flying Olive Garlic, Herbs de Provence, or a Single Varietal of Flying Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Soup:

2 1/2+ cups chicken or veggie stock, or more, to taste or to thin to desired consistency

1/2 tsp dried thyme

About 1-2 Tbsp fresh or dried chopped parsley

2-3 Tbsp Brie or another soft cheese, if desired, diced

2-8 slices of crumbled precooked bacon, diced very fine (I used a precooked 2.2 oz package)

½ tsp Salts-of-the-Earth Washington Smoked Salt or Applewood Smoked Bacon salt*

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet with ½-1 Tbsp Flying Olive EVOO of choice.

Place butternut squash, onion, and bell pepper in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. You may need two baking sheets to keep all the veggies in a single layer. Add 2 Tbsp Flying Olive EVOO of Choice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss to combine.

Place the cookie sheet (s) into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring half-way through. Remove from oven and let cool.

If you haven’t cooked the bacon, do so now, cooking until the bacon is brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. When cool, chop fine.

When the butternut/veggie combination is cool, move it in batches to a blender (or use an immersion blender). Be sure to cover the vent hole with a clean towel to prevent spattering. Add more stock, as needed, to thin. Blend until smooth. As each batch is blended, pour it into a stock pot. Continue until all the soup has been blended, adding stock as needed.

Add the thyme and half of the bacon crumbles. Stir until fragrant and heated, about 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately, garnished with remaining bacon, cheese, and parsley, if desired.

Inspired by Damn Delicious

Submitted by Barb L.

*Available in the Eastgate Store