In a medium pot, heat cook the chopped bacon over medium heat. Cook until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon from the pot and set aside to drain. Leave remaining bacon grease in the pot to saute vegetables. (Should be about one tablespoon of bacon grease)
Sauté onions and carrots in the bacon grease (or replace with oil) for 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add broth, squash, baking soda, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove soup from heat and blend soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Whisk 1/2 cup milk and flour (or cornstarch) together. Slowly add to soup while stirring. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk, stirring constantly.
Turn soup back on and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5-10 more minutes. Turn off soup. Top with crumbled bacon or chopped pecans. Enjoy!
*To make without bacon, omit the first step and use 1 tablespoon of oil (like olive oil).*To make vegetarian: Substitute bacon for pecans. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons of chopped toasted pecans. Use vegetable broth for the liquid, and use oil to saute vegetables.*To make gluten-free, use cornstarch.*To make dairy-free, use more broth in place of milk.
Recipe from Living Well Kitchen https://blog.memeinge.com/butternut-squash-soup/