Chunky Butternut Bacon Soup

Chunky Butternut Bacon Soup

1 medium-large butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
6 slices bacon, diced
1 ½ cups yellow onion, medium-diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 carton (48 oz.) beef broth or use bouillon cubes according to package instructions
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, stems removed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup dry sherry, optional

To peel the squash, cut both ends off and place upright on a cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin, then, with a sharp chef’s knife, cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

In a large stockpot, cook the diced bacon until crisp. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook with the bacon until onion is tender. Stir in the tomatoes (including juice), beef broth, squash, parsley, bay leaf, basil, thyme, pepper and sherry; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, until squash is fork-tender. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve hot and enjoy.

To store: Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Note: The beef broth provides the salt for the soup; if using water or vegetable stock, add salt as desired, starting with a half-teaspoon.