1All measurements are estimated. Feel free to experiment with them. I like to chop all my veggies pretty small and uniform. I think 1/2" dices is as big as I would go with the ingredients in this recipe. You might also make a smooth soup by pureeing the whole thing at the end.
2Clean and break cauliflower into chunks. Place in large pot or steamer with 1-2 inches of water, sprinkle with a little salt and cook until tender. Be careful not to let the water boil away. (Yeah, THAT was fun... NOT!)
3Meanwhile, place fat, celery, bell peppers and garlic in skillet and saute gently until soft and starting to brown. If using chopped squash, you can add it here. (For that matter, you could probably add the carrots and apples here as well. I think I'll try that next time.)
4Remove garlic cloves and cauliflower to large cutting board and smash and chop to your heart's delight. You could also use a food processor for a smooth puree, but be sure to add a little liquid if you do.
5Place all veggies into the large pot with any remaining water from cooking the cauliflower. In a bowl, combine the soup mix with a little cold water until smooth, then add it to the pot.
6Add remaining ingredients (except cheese) along with enough water or stock to make it soupy. (You may want to reserve some bacon for a garnish.) Simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from scorching, until all the veggies and apples are tender. The starch in the soup mix will thicken up, so add liquid as needed to prevent it from getting too thick.
7Add the cheese right before serving so it retains it's gooiness.