kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper- to taste
1/4teaspooncayenne pepper- use more if you want more spicy
6slicesbacon- cooked and crumbled
1/2cuphalf and half
extra half and half and black pepper- to serve
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper.
Peel and chop the butternut squash, removing the seeds. Place on baking sheet (you may need two sheets, depending on the size of your squash) and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes. Set aside.
Dice bacon and fry in medium stock pan, until crisp. Remove bacon, and add more olive oil (or use some of the bacon grease). Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and saute until slightly softened, approximately 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon) and stir for another 30 seconds or so.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and add the squash, cooking about 10 more minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
Remove the stockpot from the heat, and use an immersion blender (or pour into a blender) to puree until mostly smooth. It's ok to have a few small chunks remaining.
Place the pot back on the stove and add the half and half until heated through. You'll need to use a low temp here and stir constantly (to avoid the pureed soup from splatting).
To serve, add another swirl of half and half and the reserved chopped bacon.
Adding just a little bit of cinnamon and cayenne to this soup adds a lot of flavor. Be careful when measuring.