If the combination of butternut squash and tomato sounds a bit strange, you’re not alone. It seemed like an odd pairing to me as well, when I read about it on bonappetit.com. But when I considered the elements more carefully, it made perfect sense. Butternut squash on it’s own makes quite a sweet soup, which I always enjoy for the first few spoonfuls,. But then it becomes cloying and not terribly nuanced. It always reminds me of baby food. But give the squash a shot of acid, in the form of a tomato and we’re talking a whole different ballgame of flavour. Rich and complex, each spoonful offers a fresh perspective.
The most difficult part of making this soup is cutting the butternut squash in half. Even when I use my 12 inch chef’s blade, my knife always gets stuck halfway through the squash. Then I lift the whole thing in the air and fling it back down on the cutting board, praying that the force will split the squash and I will escape unbloodied. It usually works.
Once you get the squash cut in half, scoop out the seeds, give it a slick of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place each half facedown on a parchment lined baking sheet. Tuck a peeled clove of garlic under each half and roast in a hot oven for about 45 minutes, until soft.
Now comes the fun part. No need to scoop the flesh out of the shell. It just peels right off in one piece. It reminded me of when I was little and I’d watch my mom peel apples with a paring knife. She’d get all the peel off in one long coil. I thought she was magic! Once the squash is cooked, sauté some onions, jalapeño and ginger until soft. Add the squash, canned tomatoes and some liquid (water, chicken or vegetable broth) and let the whole lot simmer for about 20 minutes. An immersion blender makes quick work of pureeing.Ok, let’s get to the coconut bacon! Which is’t really bacon at all, just coconut flakes tarted up with some liquid smoke, tamari sauce, maple syrup and brown sugar. The whole lot gets baked until brown and crispy.Coconut bacon is the genius idea of Molly over at mynameisyeh. It is crunchy, a little bit smoky, salty and sweet. It is the perfect garnish for this soup and any leftover is fantastic in salad. I must admit , I’m a little bit addicted to it.
Click here to print recipe for Butternut-Squash-Tomato-Soup-with-Coconut-Bacon.