Southwest Butternut Squash Soup

This could easily be made into a vegetarian soup by using vegetable broth and leaving out the bacon bits topping. The recipe was ever so slightly adapted from Food Network magazine.

2 butternut squash (about 4 lbs total)
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
4 carrots, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 Fresno chiles, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
2 t chili powder
1 T vegeta or chicken bouillon
8 cups chicken broth

pomegranate seeds
toasted, salted pumpkin seeds
bacon bits (or pancetta)
chopped green onion
sour cream with lime zest

Preheat the oven to 400ยบ; poke holes in the squash with a fork and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes until you can pierce the squash easily. Let cool. Discard the seeds and string stuff and scoop out the flesh.

Heat the EVOO in a large pot and add the carrots, onion, chiles and garlic; saute over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add the tortilla pieces and cook for 3 or 4 minutes longer. Add the cumin, chili powder, 1 t salt, fresh pepper and stir for a minute or so. Add the broth, vegeta and squash. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to lowest, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in the blender (or with an immersion blender- although I can’t guarantee a smooth soup this way) being very careful not to overfill (unless you want hot squash soup spraying out of the blender like a Category 5 hurricane all over yourself and your kitchen- not that I would know this first hand because I would NEVER be so impatient as to overfill the blender and think that by merely holding down the lid tightly I could avoid this problem… no, definitely not me…) . Add more broth if needed to thin and more seasonings if necessary. Serve with the toppings.

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