10 whole fresh baby leaves of “Spanish thyme” (Cuban oregano) or 10 whole fresh sage leaves plus 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh leaves of whichever herb is used
4 slices bacon, chopped
3-4 lbs calabaza pumpkin or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced hot pepper or to taste (optional)
1 chopped seasoning pepper (optional)
1 sprig of fresh thyme or some tarragon
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fry Spanish thyme or sage leaves in 2 tablespoons of the oil- 10-15 seconds for the former, 3 to 5 seconds for sage. Transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Fry chopped bacon if using, remove to paper towels to drain.
Add remaining olive oil to pot, then cook onion, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic and remaining herbs and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin/squash and sauté for 5 minutes, turning constantly. Add broth and water and simmer covered, 20-30 minutes until pieces are tender.
Let soup cool a bit and then purée soup in batches in a blender, transferring to a bowl. Return soup to pot and reheat. If necessary, thin to desired consistency with a little water. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve sprinkled with bacon and fried leaves.
bacon recipe courtesy of: A Caribbean Garden | TheGrowSpot.com