I remember when I fell in love with Butternut Squash, and lamenting on all of the wasted years I spent ignoring this wonderfully versatile vegetable. I don’t consider myself a picky eater, but I am guilty of falling into ruts when it comes to the foods that I eat. It was some years ago while visiting a cousin of mine, that I was reintroduced to this sweet squash. She was preparing a meal for her kiddos when she declared that her children Loved Butternut Squash Fries. Fries? I watched as she peeled and cut the squash in half, scooping out the seeds and pulp before cutting into fries. She seasoned with a little sea salt and olive oil and they were done within the hour. Flavorful, sweet and crunchy, these fries were difficult to stop eating, and butternut squash was now my new addiction.
Every fall you will most certainly find butternut squash in my kitchen. My father who still plants a vegetable garden every year, recently dropped off two large beautiful squash for me. With the temperature quickly dropping, I decided I was in the mood for soup, well chowder to be precise. Every year I utilize my Vitamix to help me make a creamy and savory butternut squash soup, but this time I imagined something a little more hearty. With the addition of sweet corn, pancetta, and a few other savory ingredients, this chowder is sure to warm and fill your belly an crisp fall day.
Ingredients for chowder:
(1) 2 14 pound Butternut Squash
3 1/2 cup Roasted Chicken Garlic Broth (can substitute with vegetable broth)
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 teaspoons Chipotle Chile Peppers (canned and minced) see Roland Brand
(1) 16oz Frozen Bag of Sweet White Corn
1 Chopped Red Onion
(2) Chopped Red Peppers
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Chopped Fresh Sage
Ingredients for Goat Cheese Croutons:
40z Chilled Fresh Goat Cheese (i doubled this amount, my husband is a huge fan of these croutons)
2 Large Beaten Eggs
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
4 oz Thick Slice Pancetta or Bacon
Cut cheese round into 8 wedges. Pour beaten egg into small bowl. Place cornmeal in separate bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dip cheese wedge into egg and then into cornmeal, turning to coat. Place on baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour.
Cook pancetta in large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add red onion and peppers to pan drippings and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add butternut squash, broth, cream, and chilies. Simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in corn and simmer until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer 3 1/2 cups soup to Vitamix or blender. If you would like a ‘chunkier’ chowder transfer less vegetable chunks to blender. After blending, mix puree back into remaining soup. Quick tip, you can thin chowder if needed by adding a bit more cream or chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen cheese; brown well, about 1 minute each side. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Ladle soup into bowl and top with pancetta crumbles and goat cheese croutons. Enjoy!