The vibrant color and flavor of a velvety Butternut Squash Soup is heavenly on the tongue and nourishing to the soul the way that deep, honest conversation, one full of vulnerability and honesty, is delicious, nourishing, and sustaining for our human relationships.
Some of the best, most connective and enriching moments in my life have been those that are replete with vulnerably deep and from-the-heart honest conversation with another human being.
I have found that there is nothing that quite compares to that unique and divine type of sharing.
Little tastes quite as good in the mouth than words that roll off the tongue that are dripping in truth, meaning, thoughtfulness, depth, and revelation of something that was previously hidden or obscured, or even not consciously known about, innocently enough, until it came stumbling out into the cleansing daylight.
There is a certain vibrant and bright flavor in communicating verbally with another human being when it causes togetherness and unity to occur; it enlivens and nourishes so richly and wonderfully the way that a piping hot gloriously bright and orange butternut squash soup lightly dances on the tongue, silky and velvety, and glides down warmly to sooth and comfort deep within.
This precious thing called “language” is something given to us to use in order that we may get to know one another more intimately, and truthfully, and all of the mysteries that we hold within.
It is something given to us to enable us to learn more about ourselves, even—who we are, what we desire, what is meaningful to us—in order that someone else may know these things about us also, as many times it’s helpful for us to hear ourselves say something aloud.
And if vulnerability and a desire for truth is present in the conversations that we have with one another, then even an exchange that begins as a disagreement can turn into something lovely, colorful, honest, helpful, transformative, and informational; and become elevated in order for togetherness and healing to occur, rather than separation and destruction.
I can’t tell you how many “lets-get-real-together” conversations my husband and I have had over the years; ones that began as an annoying tiff or an irritated exchange, but grew over the course of the back-and-forth into something that we came away from more enriched and nourished than we could ever have imagined, all because vulnerability was present in our exchange, and we decided to get honest not only with each other, but with our own self, as well.
We’ve had amazing weekends full of hours and hours of conversation while taking walks together, or while enjoying a coffee or tea at a little cafe as the evening sun dipped down (sheer heaven to me!) where we’ve explored how something begins, evolves, and then becomes what it ultimately becomes, because we simply enjoy dialoging back and forth, going a little deeper with each pass, until we feel that “click” or a resonance that we’ve struck that chord of truth.
And little is more vibrantly flavored or more amazing than that when it comes to relationship.
Enjoying the way that honest, vulnerable conversation feels in the depths of one’s being-ness is so very crucial to experiencing a life truly worth living.
This ability we’ve been given to converse and to share who we are with one another, to share what is happening within our self with someone else and to gain an understanding of all of these same things about another person, is simply a flavor on the palette that ends up being unlike any other.
And what a sustaining flavor that is, indeed!
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Chicken, Creamy White Beans and Smoky Bacon
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4-6
• Olive oil
• 6 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
• 1 large onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Black pepper
• 2 pounds peeled and diced (or cubed) butternut squash (I buy pre-cut butternut squash in the prepared foods section for convenience)
• 3 ½ cups chicken stock, hot
• 1 (15 ounce) can organic navy beans, drained and well-rinsed
• 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken (you can use rotisserie chicken for convenience, or *see note below)
• 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Squeeze lemon (about 1 teaspoon worth)
(*I like to season two, skin-on and bone-in chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and roast them at 400° for about 40 minutes; then, I remove the skin and the bones, and shred the meat.)
-Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the bacon and cook until crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towel; reserve the bacon for your garnish.
-Into the bacon drippings (you can add a little more oil if there isn’t much fat rendered), add the diced onion, and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened and translucent, and slightly golden; add in the pressed garlic, and stir.
-Once the garlic is aromatic, add in a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus the Italian seasoning, and stir to combine; add in the butternut squash and the chicken stock, and stir.
-Place a lid on the pot and bring the soup to a boil; then, reduce the heat, and allow the soup to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
-Remove from heat and, using a hand-held immersion blender, puree the soup. (You can also transfer the soup into a blender to puree, just take care to do it in smaller batches as to not spatter hot soup on yourself and your kitchen.)
-Once the soup is pureed, add into it the drained and rinsed navy beans, the cooked chicken, the baby spinach, the chopped parsley, and the squeeze of lemon, and stir to combine, allowing the spinach to wilt in; then, check your seasoning and add a pinch of two of extra salt and pepper, if needed.
-Ladle into bowls and garnish with some of the crispy bacon, and serve with some croutons or crusty bread on the side.