Sunday, November 10, 2013

Butternut squash, Kale and Pancetta soup

Nothing I like more than a comforting, warming, delicious chunky soup this time of year.

It makes use of seasonal vegetables (squash and kale) and I love the flavor combo of smokey, salty pancetta and creamy cannellini beans. This recipe can also be kept vegetarian by switching chicken stock to vegetable stock. For a vegan option, I would substitute butter for olive oil, and pancetta with a teaspoon of miso or half a teaspoon of marmite.

Try this soup, you will love it!

INGREDIENTS (for 6 people):
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced relatively finely (about 1/4 inch cubes)
- 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch of kale, remove the stalks and grossly chopped
- 1 cup onion, diced finely (1 medium onion should do)
- 1 cup carrots, diced finely
- 1 cup celery, diced finely
- 4 oz cubed pancetta
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme (dry works fine too)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 12 cups liquid (I used 8 cups chicken stock and 4 cups water)

- in a deep stockpot, melt the butter and fry the pancetta over medium-high heat until crispy and golden
- add the carrots, celery and onion (this flavor base is also called a mirepoix) and the sprig of thyme.  Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta drippings have been deglazed from the bottom of the pan (about 5 minutes)
- after 5 minutes, add the cubed squash, stock and water and bring to a boil. When the liquid boils, lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is almost cooked through
- add the kale and beans, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the kale is cooked to your taste
- Enjoy!

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