Bacon and kale? Awesome. Bacon and winter squash? Delicious. Bacon, kale, and squash? Absolutely scrumptious, and an easy way to get a healthy dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. The cliche that bacon makes everything better exists for a reason, with just a small amount of that glorious ingredient turning what would just be a merely tasty bowl of soup into a really memorable one. It's hard to believe that just four ingredients (if you don't count water, salt, and pepper) are this flavorful when brought together, each bite the perfect balance of savory, salty bacon, sweet squash, and hearty kale. (If you are a vegetarian or vegan, and have chosen to deny yourself the glory that is bacon, you can simply saute the onion in olive oil instead of rendered bacon fat.) All this creamy veggie-packed deliciousness demands a roll or piece of crusty bread to sop up every last bit of flavor, making this soup the perfect excuse to stop at your favorite bakery. Extra soup freezes well, so whip up an extra batch for a quick meal anytime, but hold off on garnishing with the bacon bits until you're ready to serve.
Creamy Winter Squash and Greens Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart
4 strips bacon, 4 ounces, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound kale, or other hearty green, thick stems removed, leaves finely chopped (about 8 cups)
4 cups homemade winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.) puree, or 2 packages (12 ounces each) frozen winter squash puree, thawed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
2. Add onion to fat in pan, and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add kale; cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add squash puree and 3 cups water (or more if necessary to achieve desired consistency); bring just to a boil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve, garnished with reserved bacon.