As my next CSA delivery approaches, I'm trying to use up as much of my last delivery as possible. Among the remaining vegetables were three medium butternut squash. While I love a simple squash puree, I needed something more than that to use up that much squash. For this recipe I used only the necks, reserving the bottoms for another use-I had something specific in mind, but they could be roasted and pureed if you don't have any other ideas. This soup is rich enough to serve as a meal with a piece of crusty bread and nice green salad, although it will serve 4 to 6 instead of 12, but would also be a nice first course for a dinner party or even Thanksgiving dinner. For a Thai twist to this recipe, substitute light coconut milk for the half-and-half, add 1 to 2 tablespoons (or to taste) red curry paste and top with cilantro.
Butternut Squash Bisque
adapted from Martha Stewart
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish (optional)
3 medium butternut squash, necks peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (reserve bottoms for another use)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Sour cream, for serving
1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired.
To Freeze: Ladle cooled bisque (without sour cream) into airtight containers, leaving 1 inch of space; freeze up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Run container under hot water to release bisque. Heat with a bit of water, stirring occasionally.