Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Bacon

From the time I was very small my need for punctuality has caused great anxiety, and still does today, although I feel things have greatly improved. Who can say for sure where it comes from? Most people I am close with are not timely individuals, my family included. Perhaps it's thanks to my grandfather on my mom's side who was a general in the US Air force? His capacity to be precise and punctual is something worth seeing. Whenever we go out for dinner he puts his suit on and parades around the front of the house, frequently announcing in a terrifically booming voice Are you ready yet? It's time to go! Which is met with much frantic grumbling and scurrying about as everyone else tries to catch up. Truth is though, he's just early.

For the past five years, it's as if I've been living in a windstorm of Jude and her madness over time. Madness about getting things done, about being the best, about loving, about not loving, about trying to conquer the world in a day and achieving everything I could and more. It's made me really ill, to be honest, this racing, this frenzy. No, I haven't been in and out of the hospital etc., it's been more of the old western maladie: anxiety over mere existence and losing what we wanted to keep forever. Oh dear. But when you hurry hurry hurry so that you won't miss out, or when you squeeze squeeze squeeze so that you won't lose what you have, it will surely end, as I have unfortunately (and very fortunately!) found out, in tears and madness.

It's because I fear the end of things. It's because I love this place so much, this life, this world, and I don't ever want it to go away. Oh but it will go away! I know. And the only way to be happy while it's slowly going is to know that it is, and that things will change, for better and for worse.
I've spent a lot of time fretting about not having enough time. At the old wise age of 23, I appear to have found a sort of thread of rationality somewhere in the depths of my dramatic exuberant mind, and I know time is tick tick ticking away, but it doesn't seem to bother me as much. When it does, I don't slip so hard and crash to the ground, I just kinda stumble, and then take off running again. I still get up every day and kinda do a little fist pump, a little skip and a hop, ready to tackle mountains of sometimes unachievable tasks; I still plan my days, make lists, worry, grumble, cry etc., but this is drive and this is living and there is a lightness, a warmth, and an ease of acceptance that wasn't there before. It just doesn't feel so heavy, and I'm glad, because with so little time, why and how could we spend so much time worrying about it all?

But how in the heck does this relate to soup?! Well, I was thinking about this while I made the soup and while I wandered around today, going to the library, translating some for work, riding my bicycle. And how I cook with much more patience these days, how I don't look at the clock, how I don't panic about overcooking things (ahem, most of the time). It's like I've let Time have his way with me a little, like I've let him lead.

I've been creating this soup in my head for four days and excitedly planning when and how I was going to make it. Finally tonight I did, listening to Dvorak's New World Symphony super loud, and man, she was a tasty little one.

Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Bacon

Makes lots!

3 C chicken stock
1 big butternut squash (about four cups of squash I'd say)
1 massive white onion
1 1/2 C apple juice (or cider)
some rosemary (about 2 TBS)
8 strips of bacon
a small round of goat cheese
salt and pepper

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees C
- Cut the squash in half and place it face down on a baking sheet. Bake until soft (about an hour).
- Cut the onion in half and then into very thin slices. Put the sliced onion into a skillet with butter and olive oil. Fry over medium heat until soft and golden (about 1 hour). Set aside.
- Chop up the bacon into small bits. Fry them in the onion pan. Set aside.
- Chop up the rosemary. Set aside.
- Reduce the 1 1/2 C apple juice to half in the same skillet, so you collect all the good left over charred bits from the bacon and the onion.
- When the squash is done, remove the skin and add the flesh to the stock, already in a pot.
- Add 3/4 of the onions.
- Add the reduced apple juice.
- Blend with a hand blender, or a food processor.
- Taste.
- Add rosemary and some salt and pepper.
- Dish up the soup into bowls, add a dollop of reserved caramelized onion, cover with goat cheese and a handful of bacon. Let the cheese melt for a couple minutes, and then eat.

On the side, I recommend the following Spiced Cranberry Chutney on buttered biscuits or a loaf of homemade bread!

Spiced Cranberry Chutney
As adapted from Lucy Waverman

We made this for Thanksgiving and it was really TO DIE FOR on those sweet potato biscuits. Holy! Plus it cooks itself, which is terrific, and it's not too spendy.

1 green apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 cup)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (375-ml package)

Place all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 10-12 minutes or until apples are soft and some of the cranberries have popped.

PS I bought some sausages to go along with everything, but I wasn't so hungry, so I kept them for another day. However, if you have more mouths to feed, or some protein hungry monsters on your hands, some sausages would be a welcomed addition, I'm sure. Maybe accompanied by a spinach salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette, dried cranberries and walnuts on the side? Delicious. Also, I have this feeling that putting the chutney into the soup would be quite sublime.

Enjoy dear friends and readers, enjoy.


  1. Yum !

    And the writing was pretty tasty as well !

  2. Coicendentally I too made butternut squash soup today. I also garnished it with rosemary, I just had this nagging feeling that it would be the perfect finishing touch. I cooked quinoa and put it in the bottom of the bowl, spooned thick soup over top, sprinkled with rosemary and ate with slices of good cheddar cheese.

  3. Little bit,

    That is MORE than coincidental! You and I, you know, we're like, super in tune, so in tune, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, super, totally, oh yeah.

  4. Judes.
    Time, time, time is on your side.
    I fault capitalism for this particular source of anxiety. Just saying.

    I'm with you sister.

  5. I just made this soup, and it was AMAZING. The caramelized onions are so worth the wait! I used ground, dried rosemary instead, which worked fine (I imagine fresh would have been delightful, however), and omitted the goat cheese because Food Basics only sells it in bulk packages, and I now shop at Food Basics. I grated some strong cheddar on top instead, and it was delicious. Mmm mmmm!

    But seriously: Everyone should make this soup. Barring that, everyone should get to eat this soup.

  6. Hey Leigh!

    I made it tonight too, but due to my lack of apple juice I just cooked up some apples in PORT and dumped them in with a bit of maple syrup and ALEPPO PEPPER. Goat Cheese too and some smoked sausage. OH GOD!

    And, I'm so glad you loved it!

    It was pretty nice to see you too.


  7. Oh Boy, Ros here. Just found this jar of cranberry deliciousness in my fridge. Had some on toast, but couldn't stop there. Am now frantically spoon feeding from the jar...i just can't stop...

    i just can't stoooop!

    Perhaps you should post some info on food addiction? Blogers responsibility I think.


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