Roasted Butternut Chowder with Bacon Croutons

Roasted Butternut Chowder with Bacon Croutons

I have made a lot of sweet treats lately, so it’s time for something a little healthier. I know what you’re thinking. How can something with “bacon” in the title be healthy? Trust me. This dish is 99% saint and just 1% sinner ;)

The soup itself is lean and vegetable-rich, with roasted butternut squash, combining with carrots, celery, onion, and a few potatoes for a creamy texture, without the need for a lot of cream. In fact, cream is completely optional in this soup. I added about 2 Tbsp. just because I had a tiny bit of cream to use up. It certainly isn’t necessary though. By using a fat-free stock base, and little or no cream, there’s plenty to feel good about in this soup.

Roasting the butternut squash is well worth the extra bit of time, as it really brings out the sweetness and richness of the squash. Once the squash is roasted, this soup comes together really quickly, needing just enough time to simmer the vegetables to tenderness. Once tender, you can puree this soup a bit to blend the flavours, leaving just a bit of chunky vegetables for some colour.

Even though the soup starts with a low-sodium stock, to really bring out the flavours of this soup, salting well is recommended. I just add a bit and taste and add and taste, so I put in only as much as is needed.

Now about the croutons. Yes, they’re the “1% sinner” part. The bacon croutons are made by sauteing the bread cubes in bacon fat until they’re crispy. Yes. I feel a little guilty just typing that. True, it’s a bit of an indulgence, but they are unbelievable delicious and a lovely addition to this chowder. Of course, you can simply saute your bread in some olive or vegetable oil instead or, if you’d like to keep this soup really low-fat, you could bake the croutons.

Roasted Butternut Chowder with Bacon Croutons

{I didn’t put any of the actual bacon on or in the soup, but you certainly can if you like. We are always looking for bacon bits in this household though, so they never go to waste. I used red-skinned potatoes and left the skin on.}

Suggested Variation: This soup would be lovely with a little bit of mild curry, as well – either added to the soup or used to flavour the croutons.

Yummly

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