Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.
We’re in the coldest part of winter, and that means soup. In this case, it’s just about my favourite all around winter soup: Butternut Bisque. Before we go any farther though, I have an admission: No photo of the soup. We ate the soup before I realized, hey, I might need a photo of that! So you can picture in your minds, an orange, creamy soup with herbs and onions. I also promised you all an update on the alternate fudge recipe, which had marshmallows. Not being a fan of marshmallows (others here like them), I look for ways to use them. Don’t bother. The recipe was harder, especially in trying to get the marshmallows and chocolate to melt. It tasted fine, but had nothing on the recipe I gave you last time. Stick with the tried and true, as they say. But back to the soup. This recipe is wonderfully flexible, because you can swap out the butternut squash for pumpkin or any other orange squash, and the liquid can be broth, milk, or cream, depending on the texture and “body” of soup you’re after. In other words, you can have it your way. Hopefully some of you took my advice from my blog on growing pumpkins last spring, and grew a few, or grow them anyway. Also, any squash/pumpkins from farmer’s markets, etc., that you purchased, pureed and froze, are fine too. What you will need to start is about 2 cups of pumpkin/squash puree.
1 butternut squash
1 onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt (preferably the briny kind) or more to taste
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pepper
2-3 cups of chicken broth (good if you counting calories), milk, or cream. I used milk.
Get out your meat cleaver or heavy knife, and cut the squash into 2” chunks. Place chunks into large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Keep an eye on it, because butternut cooks quickly. Alternatively, you could use the microwave, but for butternut, I prefer the boiling method. When squash is tender, drain and let cool. Remove the flesh from the skins, compost skins. Put the peeled squash back into the pot, and mash, I used a potato masher for this.
In a separate medium glass/microwavable bowl, put your onion and butter. In the microwave, cook until onion is translucent. Add to the pot, along with the thyme, milk or whatever liquid you’re using, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Heat gently, especially if you’re using milk. I used milk when I made mine, and took extra care to prevent the whole thing from curdling. If you feel extravagant and want to use heavy cream, go for it. Heavy cream will not curdle when heated. Use a whisk to blend the mixture, adding more salt and pepper if you like. Depending on the thickness of your squash/pumpkin puree, you may or may not need more liquid, but the nice part is you can add as much as you like to get the consistency that suits you. When soup is hot, enjoy. Purists often run the mixture through a food processor, but that is really not necessary. Also, the purists tend to top it with red pepper puree,or crème fraiche (I haven’t seen many places carry the latter, and when they do, it’s expensive). If you want to gussy it up, a dollop of sour cream works just as well. Some hot biscuits on the side, and you’ve got dinner. Any leftovers can be reheated, gently, the next day. Usually there aren’t any.
Photo by Fotolia/Travelbook