Weeknight Shorts: Smokey Bacon Butternut Bisque

I love the color orange, so this stunning bisque had me falling in love before I raised my spoon to my mouth. But once that happened, it became a regular part of my meal routine. Quick soups are lifesavers for when life gets busy. In about twenty minutes, this soup can be ready to go. When you have an hour between the time everyone can gather at the table and you're off again for any number of events happening this spring, this is a recipe to cling to in the midst of chaos.

I used butternut puree because I make it every fall and have loads of it waiting for me in my chest freezer. If you want to opt for a canned of pumpkin puree, that works well too. Just make sure you get the regular canned pumpkin -- not the pie filling! I like the bit of texture the thick-cut bacon adds to this soup, but regular bacon is fine too. Make sure you opt for something smokey and don't skip the smoked paprika or smoked gouda -- this trio of ingredients takes this soup from pretty good to out of this world.

Great on its own, you could just have a bit of crusty bread or your favorite crackers alongside a bowl of bisque. A nice salad or small sandwich will also make a great accompaniment. Just keep it simple because this soup brings a lot of flavor and star power to the show!

Smokey Bacon Butternut Bisque

  • 8 slices thick-cut hickory smoked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups butternut squash or pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 8 oz. smoked gouda cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until it's almost crisp. Remove it from the pot and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Once cool, crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside.

Using the same stockpot, add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until translucent and softened.

Whisk in the squash or pumpkin puree and chicken broth until smooth. Stir in the rosemary and paprika; turn the heat up to medium. Once the soup begins to simmer, slowly stir in the grated gouda a few handfuls at a time until it is completely melted. Stir in the heavy cream and crumbled bacon. Taste and adjust the seasonings (including salt and pepper) before serving.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes