Rustic Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Chestnut Soup

October 14, 2020 Updated: October 14, 2020

Warming soups are cold weather staples, and another great way to cook with seasonal squash. I love this butternut squash, bacon, and chestnut soup because it is served chunky: after simmering on the stovetop, you’ll simply mash the cooked squash into a rustic puree. No blender required.

The creamy texture and mild, earthy-sweet flavor of the squash pairs perfectly with the rich, fatty bacon, nutty roasted chestnuts, and aromatic fresh sage. I finish the soup with a few spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese to add even more depth of flavor. 

It’s a perfect first course for a fowl dinner (before Thanksgiving turkey, perhaps?) but also substantial enough to have when only soup and salad are on the menu.

Serves 4 

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 strips bacon, diced 
  • 1 stalk celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into even chunks 
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • 10 jarred roasted chestnuts, chopped 
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups chicken broth, preferably low sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish 

In a large (6-quart) stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the bacon and celery and sauté until the bacon becomes crisp and the celery becomes soft.

Add the butternut squash, onion, garlic, sage leaves, and chestnuts, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are coated with the oil and begin to soften.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very soft, about 20 minutes. 

Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, mash the squash against the bottom and sides of the pot into a chunky puree. Stir, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. 

Serve hot, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. 

Make Ahead: Re-heat on the stovetop over low heat, adding more broth if necessary.