The acorn squashes from my lovely CSA this year were so adorably tiny due to the drought in the summer. I used six little bitty squashes in this recipe where I would have normally just used 3 regular sized acorn squashes. Actually, I don’t know for sure that they are acorn squashes but they look close enough and acorn squash is very easy to find in local grocery stores so I’m sticking to calling these acorn squashes.
Feel free to peel your acorn squash but the size of mine and the toughness of the skin on the little buggers made it clear that peeling them would take forever and I would have sliced the shit out of my hand because the vegetable peeler would have slipped many times. I took the easy route by cutting them in half, scooping out the seeds and gross stringy bits. I added a bit of grapeseed oil to the centre of each half and then rubbed it all over the cut portion. I then just added a little salt and pepper to each one. I roasted them in the oven until a knife went into them very easily. I will put a cooking time in the recipe but be aware that the time may be quite different depending on the size of squash you use.
While the squashes were roasting I got on with the rest of the soup. I chopped up the kale into bite sized pieces and fried the cut up bacon in a large cast-iron enameled dutch oven (similar to Le Creuset brand but a cheap version so I didn’t have to re-mortgage my house). I then removed the bacon, leaving the glorious bacon fat in the pot and sauteed the kale in it until it was wilted. If you are really uptight about using bacon fat to cook with then just drain the fat off and replace it with some other type of oil. If you want the soup to taste really good then use the bacon fat. The soup is made with two of the healthiest vegetables – use the bacon fat, you will be fine.
After the kale sauteed for about 5 minutes, I removed it from pot and set it aside on a plate. I then sauteed the onion and garlic until it was soft and then added the broth. When the squash was cool enough to handle, I scooped it out of the skin with a spoon and put it directly in the pot and pureed it with a stick blender. If you don’t have one then puree the squashes with a regular blender or food processor. I would add the onion and garlic to the food processor or blender as well so that it gets blended nicely with the squash. Use some of the broth to loosen the squash up so it isn’t a claggy clump in your machine. Once you have the desired consistency, just add it to the soup.
I added the spices at this point and let it cook for about 10 minutes all together except for the crispy bacon pieces. Leave them out until just before you serve it or they tend to get soggy. It is nicer if they are crisp. I serve this with a dollop of sour cream and the bacon pieces on top. I don’t consider this to be a kid-friendly soup. We didn’t even attempt to give it to Tim because he has been a real pill at mealtimes lately and we didn’t want the dogs to wear the soup since he would have dumped it over the side of the highchair.
Roasted and pureed acorn squash with kale sauteed with bacon lightly spiced with cumin and chili powder.
30 minsPrep Time
1 hourCook Time
- 3 medium acorn squashes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 pieces of bacon
- 1/2 lb kale, washed
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- pinch of chipotle chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the squashes in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Lightly oil the cut side of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast squash in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a knife goes into the squash flesh very easily.
- While the squash is cooking in the oven. Slice the bacon into paperclip size pieces and fry in a large pot until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot leaving the bacon fat and set aside.
- Cut the stiff stem off of the kale and cut the leaf into bite-sized pieces (discard the stem). To do this you can lay two pieces of kale at a time on top of one another, roll it up and cut it up while rolled together. If the pieces are still to large keep chopping until they will reasonably fit on a spoon.
- Add kale to hot bacon fat in the large pot and sautee for 4-5 minutes.
- While the kale cooks, chop the onion and garlic.
- After cooking for 4-5 minutes, remove kale from the pot and set it aside on a plate or in a bowl.
- Add a little grapeseed oil to the pot and sautee the onion and garlic with some salt and pepper until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and scrape up and dark bits on the bottom of the pot and let it gently simmer.
- When the squash is fully soft, let it sit on top of the stove or counter on the pan until it is cool enough for you to hold it in your hand.
- Scoop out the squash flesh with a spoon (discard the skin) and put it in the pot. Puree until smooth with a hand-held stick blender. Add the cumin and chili powders. Stir well and then taste to see if you need to add more salt and pepper for your personal preference.
- Add the kale back to the pot and stir well. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes and then serve with a sprinkle of the bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream. Feel free to add a dash of chili powder (chipotle or regular) on top of the sour cream for a bit of style.