Butternut sage soup with pork belly and croutons

Butternut sage soup with pork belly and croutons

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 – 4 lb butternut squash, seeded and quartered
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tbs chopped sage
  • 1 tbs minced ginger
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbs of honey
  • ¾ cup whole milk

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups chopped pork belly (fully cooked)
  • Fried whole sage leaves

Croutons:

  • ½ loaf of French bread (a couple days old is best)
  • Extra Virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp dried garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with heavy duty foil and lightly oil. Cut the top off the garlic bulb, just exposing the cloves. Lay butternut squash and garlic clove on pan, skin side down, drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, turn flesh side down roast 10 minutes, remove garlic, turn a third time flesh side down and roast a final 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle peel skin off butternut squash and squeeze garlic cloves out of the bulb.

While butternut squash and garlic roast, cut French bread loaf into crouton size pieces and spread on a rimmed cookie sheet. Place in the oven on the lower rack for 5 minutes. Check them, shake them around the pan and if they need more time cook for another 3-5 minutes. They should be totally dry and hard, a little golden color but not browned. Take them out and let them cool.

In a heavy bottom pot heat over medium high heat, drizzle a small amount of oil in the bottom. Once hot, add pork belly. Cook until well browned on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pot. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and heat to shimmering. Add whole sage leaves and fry for 30 seconds to a minute per side. Turn off heat and remove leaves to a paper towel lined plate.

Turn heat back on under pot at medium high, add carrots, cook until beginning to brown, about 2-4 minutes. Add celery and onions to the pot, saute until soft and translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half, 5-7 minutes. Add chopped sage and ginger and cook until fragrant,30 seconds. Add peeled roasted butternut squash, garlic cloves, honey, apple cider, water, stock and milk stir until well combined but not boiling, 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat.

Using an immersion blender puree soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let soup cool for a few minutes and then puree in small batches using a high power blender or a standard blender. Do not over fill the blender or the steam will push the lid off. If it’s too thick you can add more water, milk or stock until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, top with browned croutons, pork belly, and fried sage leaves sliced thin.

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