Sunday, April 7, 2013

Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque

Squash, Apples, Cinnamon. . . 

It Almost Feels like Fall around here!

The morning started out warm, consistent with spring but then this afternoon it got chilly. Soup seems like a good thing, especially when my daughter has been asking repeatedly for "squash soup" and I found butternut squashes at the grocery store today.

I find the cubing of the butternut squash that is called for in most recipes a bit daunting. There's the hard outer layer of the squash and then trying to cut through that depth, as it rolls around on the cutting board is just not fun. Over the years I have experimented with different knives, everything from a sharp serrated edge to a cleaver, with little success and always a fear that I'm going to get one of my own fingers. To simplify - and really, I think this makes it super simple even thought it's an extra step - I opt to roast the butternut squash before I put it in the soup.

How to Roast a Butternut Squash

Here are the basic steps:

I start with a butternut squash and place it on the cutting board, using my chef knife to put through the skin and make a run for the other side, working my way around to split the squash into two lengthwise halves. After that I scoop out the seeds and think about how this is so much easier than pumpkins at Halloween. I then cut off the stem as well as the bottom end on each half, pierce the flesh (inner and outer) with a fork, and then drizzle olive oil on all of the surfaces, as well as sprinkling some salt on the inner side. I place the squash on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast for about 40 - 50 minutes on 400 degrees.  Now because this is for soup, I went all the way to 50 minutes. If you want to use this more as firm cubes, you know to eat or something, decrease the time. But for soup, this makes is super easy to get it ready and speeds up the cooking process once we put it in the recipe as well.

I then let it cool for a couple of hours before moving on to getting it ready for the soup. You want to peel away the skin and cube or spoon the flesh out. Honestly I started cubing and then just began scraping the flesh away from the skin and spooning into a bowl.

Once I was ready to make the actual soup, I chopped up a white onion (the sharper taste compliments the sweetness of some of the other ingredients) and crushed 4 cloves of garlic, placing it in my heavy soup pot with equal parts butter and olive oil. I let this cook for a little while on medium heat, making sure to soften this first base to our soup but being careful not to burn it. While this was cooking, I peeled an apple (I used a Gala today) and cubed it.

Once the onion and garlic was softened, I added the apple along with cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and peppers, cooking the whole lot until the apples were soft. I used Grade B pure maple syrup. It's cheaper than Grade A but for recipes involving cooking or baking, it's recommended as it's got a darker more maple flavor, packing more of a punch if you want to add some taste to your dish.

Once the apples and other ingredients were cooked for a bit, and the apples were softened, I added the squash along with a pinch of sage and also some Herbs De Province. I really like the mixture of herbs in the Herbs De Province, and put about a 1/2 teaspoon into the mixture. I didn't have to cook this part too long as the squash was nice and soft from roasting so after a quick toss, I added a carton of chicken broth and let this mixture simmer for about a half hour.

The whole house smelled wonderful. After a good bit of simmering, I used my immersion blender to change this chunky concoction to a smooth velvet bisque. I ended up switching my soup to a taller pot as the other one was too shallow and it was making a mess. The soup was very thick and dense so once I blended it, I added about 1/2 cup of half and half and let it simmer for about five more minutes before plating. I also added a bit more cayenne and some more salt after tasting.

I added a dollop of creme fraiche directly to each bow. Mmmmm it's true what they say, soup is good food!

Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque Recipe


1.5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1.5 Tablespoons Butter
1 medium White Onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 medium size apple, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
2 teaspoons sea salt,
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 butternut squash, roasted and peeled
Pinch of sage
1/2 teaspoon Herbs De Province
32 ounces of Chicken Broth
1/2 cup of Half and Half
Creme Fraiche for garnish

  • Roast butternut squash beforehand and let cool.
  • Heat butter and oil in a large pot and add chopped onions and garlic, cook until softened careful not to burn or brown them.
  • Add chopped apple, maple syrup, salt and peppers and cook until soft.
  • Add butternut squash, sage and Herbs De Province and cook until flavors are intermingled.
  • Add chicken broth and let simmer for about a half hour.
  • Use immersion blender to turn soup into a bisque. Add half and half to thin. Taste and adjust spices as necessary.
  • Ladle into bowls with creme fraiche for garnish

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