6 lbs butternut squash
3 tbsps butter
4 slices bacon, rendered dry and chopped
2 large yellow or sweet onions chopped
64 ozs chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tbsps toasted and finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp honey
Whole leaves Italian parsley
1. Preheat oven to 375. Halve the squash, remove seeds, and place pieces cut side down on an oiled cookie pan (with sides). Bake until squash can be pricked easily, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Scrape out pulp and reserve. Discard skins.
2. In a soup pot over medium heat melt 2 tbsps butter. Add onion and cook until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add squash and broth and simmer until squash falls apart, about 30 minutes. Add bacon. Cool for 20 minutes.
3. In a blender, puree soup in batches until very smooth. If using orange juice, add it now plus nutmeg. For a more lively bacon flavor, add 1-2 tbsps bacon fat. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. If soup is too think add more broth.
4. Make compound butter by mashing together remaining 1 tbsp of butter, pecans and honey. Season with sea salt and pepper. Roll butter in plastic wrap into a cylindrical shape 1 inch in diameter. Store in refrigerator.
5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Cut 1/4 inch slices of pecan butter and float one in center of each bowl. Garnish further with a leaf of parsley.
Serves 8. Nutrients per serving: calories 194, protein 7g, carbohydrates 31g, fiber 7g, fat 10g, cholesterol 10mg, sodium 714 mg. Jane Schautz