Jessica from Turkey Cookies is having a soup swap!
We make this soup every year for Thanksgiving. One year, we tried to make something else, but the families protested, so we went back to the favorite and have never strayed again. I think that the pancetta/bacon cast a magic spell on everyone, but you can certainly leave it out if you are anti-bacon.
Butternut-Corn Chowder With Goat Cheese Croutons
from Bon Appétit | November 1999
Servings: Makes 8 to 10 servings.
4 ounces chilled soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
4 ounces 1/4-inch-thick slices pancetta or 4 thick bacon slices, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 2 1/4-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
4 1/2 cups canned roasted-garlic chicken broth or low-salt chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*
1 16-ounce bag frozen sweet white corn (unthawed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
Cut each cheese round into 8 wedges. Place eggs in small bowl. Place cornmeal in another bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, dip cheese into eggs, then into cornmeal, turning to coat. Press cornmeal gently to adhere. Place on baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour.
Cook pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add butternut squash, broth and chilies; simmer until squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Mix in corn; simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer 3 1/2 cups soup to blender; puree. Mix puree into remaining soup in pan. Season with salt and pepper. (Pancetta and soup can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover pancetta; chill. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring pancetta to room temperature before continuing.) Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add frozen cheese; brown well, about 1 minute per side.
Meanwhile, bring soup to simmer. Mix in sage. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with pancetta and cheese croutons.