Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Butternut Squash Bisque

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
serves 12

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)
Coarse salt
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.

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