Bacony Butternut Squash Soup



By mid February I am so over the cold and slushy snow and cloudy skies. Today’s projected high of 51 might sound encouraging, but one look at the forecast for next week (um, 15 degrees on Tuesday?!) and I’m quickly dragged back to reality.

But perhaps the worst part about winter in the Midwest is the dismal in-season produce at the grocery store.  We’re making due with citrus from Florida and apples from Washington.  And, thankfully our wonderful co-op still has sweet potatoes and potatoes to pick up.  But, I am ready for berries and nectarines and tomatoes!!!

To liven up one of our favorite winter vegetables, I came up with a hearty and tasty soup using bright orange butternut squash and bacon.  We special order bacon from Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Tennessee.  It is well worth the extra expense and long wait time (5+ weeks once we place our order).  We buy a lot at once, and I am embarrassed to admit how quickly we go through it.  It is great at breakfast, but I love working it into lunch and dinner recipes, too.

Bacony Butternut Squash Soup

4 pieces of bacon, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, rinsed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 good size butternut squash (at least 3 lbs), peeled and diced

3 cups whole milk (I prefer using raw milk from grassfed cows in this recipe)

3 cups water

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Drop in bacon and cook until crispy.  Remove bacon and reserve on a plate. Do not pour out bacon fat!

Drop leeks and squash into hot bacon fat and cook for a few minutes – just until the veggies begin to soften.

Pour in milk and water. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft (about 20-30 minutes).

Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Garnish with bacon bits.

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6 Comments for this entry

  1. Jessie says:

    You really drink raw milk (not pasteurized or homogenized) while pregnant? You don’t worry at all?

  2. Melanie says:

    I think I will try to make this with some coconut milk! Sounds yummy!

  3. Katie McFarland says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love your blog and will keep following it, but whatever happened to frugal living? Your last several posts have been the opposite of frugal living: There was one about how you took your kids ipads away (I wish I could afford to give my child an ipad!), one about your boutique gym and now this one about special bacon you special order from Vermont… None of those things are at all frugal. It’s cool that you guys have extra money to spend now…. But it’s not really keeping to what you’ve advertised your blog as being.

    • Maureen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kate. My definition of frugal does not mean finding the cheapest thing possible. It means spending our money wisely, thoughtfully and carefully. We do not have unlimited funds and we do not buy everything we want. We do not have any credit card debt (but we have a considerable student loan payment every month) because we strive to live at or below our means at all times. We make a lot of trade-offs to enable us to have a few nice things every now and then. For example, I’ve worn the same winter coat for more than five years, I have not bought clothes for myself in close to a year, Chris and I rarely go out for date nights (because babysitters are just so expensive!) and I travel to several different grocery stores every week just to find the best deals.

      While you point out a few select comments in a few select posts that might demonstrate your point, it is worth nothing that in the past few weeks I have written about plenty of frugal living tips like how I stretched inexpensive blackberries to last extra long and finding a stash of baby clothes for free. I do a LOT of extra work to stretch every dollar we work so hard to earn.

      Addressing your specific comments:
      I could find a cheaper gym, but the gym I belong to is a block away, which means I don’t have to drive (and pay for gas and parking) and that I can go early enough for my husband to watch the kids (which means I don’t have to pay for childcare). Also, going to a typical gym would not give me the results or motivation I need to make any monthly payment worthwhile to me. I get more for my money by paying more…if that makes sense!

      I could find cheaper bacon at the grocery store, but it is from poorly kept animals and therefore the product is less healthy (and less delicious). At $8/pound, I don’t think the bacon we special order is obscenely expensive considering the high quality of the product. I think paying a couple dollars more is worth the benefit to my health and the planet.

      Our family of five shares ONE iPad that was generously and kindly gifted to us from my husband’s parents. My kids do not have multiple iPads to play with. When they were allowed to use it, they had to share ONE. And, we’re all a lot happier now that they don’t have access to it.


  4. I bought a box of veggies from our local CSA this week and it had leeks in it. I was going to make potato-leek soup tonight, which my partner doesn’t really like. I’m so glad to find a leek-using soup that I think he’ll prefer just in the nick of time!

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