- ½ Ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound applewood smoked bacon, chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (pressed between fingers to release the oil)
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
- 1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
- Zest of one large orange or lemon
- 3 cups Pacific low sodium organic chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
I just love this time of year, don’t you? Fall inspires me to decorate my home in autumnal colors, make family trips to local apple orchards, to pick the perfect pumpkins to carve and bake with and to make recipes like Apple Oat Pancakes, Apple Spice Cake, and my Unbelievable Apple Cider!
Speaking of apples, a tart variety has found its’ way into this delightfully comforting butternut squash soup. The tart apple, an orange and a lemon adds a pleasant surprise to this delicious, creamy and flavorful soup.
Begin by making your croutons:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the olive oil, melted butter, thyme and salt in a large mixing bowl. (Be sure to rub the dried thyme between your fingers to release all of the wonderful oils or flavor!) Add the bread cubes and toss.
Place cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy on the outside but still a bit “chewy” on the inside.
Don’t they look amazing! I love using Ciabatta bread because the olive oil, butter and thyme gets right in all of those nooks and crannies. These were amazing on top of the soup!
Now let’s get that pot of soup goin’!
I think this squash deserves a round of applause, don’t you? Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.
Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Crisp up your bacon and then remove it onto a plate; set aside. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, taking care to turn the heat down if the vegetables begin to brown. Add your garlic and cook one minute more.
Add squash, apple, the orange or lemon zest, chicken broth and water. Bring to boil.
Cover with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add spices. Cook for 30 minutes or until the squash has softened.
Puree and add salt and pepper to taste.
Top with your crispy bacon and seasoned croutons. The textures are a wonderful addition to this creamy soup! Enjoy! From our hearts to yours, Elise and family