Butternut Squash–Cheddar Soup with Bourbon

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
The sweet and creamy texture of butternut squash makes it perfect for blending into a silky, smooth soup. This grown-up version is simmered with bourbon for an added kick. Cheddar cheese is slowly melted into the rich puree for added decadence.



  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large wide pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 30 more seconds.
  2. Add the squash and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and carefully add 1/2 cup bourbon (stand back in case it ignites). Return to the heat and cook until mostly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until the squash is beginning to fall apart and can be easily smashed with the side of a spatula, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and heat through.
  3. Transfer the soup to a blender in batches and carefully blend until very smooth, transferring to a separate pot as you go (or puree in the pot with an immersion blender). Set the pot over low heat and gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted before adding more. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon and season with salt; add the cayenne, if desired.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and crumble cheese straws on top; serve with more cheese straws on the side.