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Sweet, smokey, spicy, and topped with a savory, creamy crouton = delicious.  This recipe is pretty easy and is the perfect fall soup.  We made it this year for our annual Watch-Movies-While-the-Boys-Play-Poker-and-Eat-Deer-Chili-(thankfully)-at-a-Separate-House Halloween Party.  If that didn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry about it, just enjoy this soup and eat up.

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. 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.

(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.)

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(from Bon Appétit | November 1999)

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