Butternut Bisque

  • I had a lot of success growing butternut squash this year. I have been wanting to make a soup, but really wanted a more savory squash soup than recipes that I’d tried previously. Butternut squash has a sweeter flavor than other varieties and often it’s combined with apples. After browsing through all of my cookbooks and several recipes online, I decided to branch out on my own. One of my favorite fall and winter soups is potato leek or vischyssoise. I love leeks, LOVE them. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered how essential leeks are to soup making. Anyhow, I decided that leeks would be the perfect compliment to my squash and put together a recipe for Butternut Bisque that I hope you love. As it was simmering on the stove, the house smelled like Thanksgiving. I will say that using fresh herbs is also an essential part of this recipe, as I think they infused the broth to perfection. Also, I reserved the squash seeds and roasted them in the oven with salt & pepper. They act as a perfect garnish to this soup, providing a nice crunchy texture. I having been enjoying this for lunch, but it would be a lovely start to a fall or winter dinner.

    Butternut Bisque

    Ingredients:

    2lbs Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)

    2 Leeks- white parts only, chopped (about 1 cup)

    2 stalks celery- chopped fine

    2 cloves garlic- minced

    4 tbs butter

    4 cups chicken stock (see note below)

    1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary

    1-2 sprigs fresh thyme

    1 cup heavy cream

    salt & pepper

    * Reserve squash seeds for your garnish*

    Method:

    Peel and cube butternut squash, reserving the seeds for your garnish. In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tbs butter. Add leeks and celery, and cook until lightly browned. Add the garlic and butternut squash, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, allowing the squash to lightly caramelize.

    Add stock and herbs and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove the herbs, fishing out any stray pieces of rosemary that came loose. Using a ladle, transfer soup to food processor or blender to puree the soup. (I transferred most of the soup, including all of the squash but left some of the stock, celery, and leeks. I like a little more texture in my soup, so I didn’t want it all pureed.) Once the soup is pureed as you wish, add it back to the pot. Add cream and season to your liking with salt & pepper (I used about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt & a big healthy dose of cracked pepper.)

    For the garnish:

    On a baking sheet, spread squash seeds out and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast seeds in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. These add a really wonderful crunch. I also pan-fried sage leaves for a little extra something. To do this, just melt a little butter in a saute pan, add your sage leaves, and fry until crispy.

    * Special note on stock: This could easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock.  In any case, high quality stock is essential. I used to roll my eyes when I’d read cookbook authors emphasizing the brilliance of homemade stocks. I cook a lot, but I don’t always have homemade stocks on hand. If you want to put together a soup using store-bought stock, it’s important to realize that your soup will take on the flavor of that stock. I have experimented a lot and have found that unsalted stocks are best because you have more control over flavoring your soup. Spend the extra couple of dollars and get something all natural. You’re making homemade soup, after all.


    October 18th, 2011 | girl has thyme | 2 Comments | Tags: ,

2 Responses and Counting...

  • Emily 10.18.2011

    Love your photos – very artistic! I also love leeks, can’t wait to try this recipe. Have I sent you my recipe for leek n’ manchego mac n’ cheese?

    [Reply]

  • This sounds delicious. I was just looking through butternut squash soup recipes on Saturday in search of a new one. I have tried so many that end up tasting too sweet. I found one that includes chipolte peppers that I’m going to make.

    [Reply]

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