Spiced Butternut Squash Bisque

Last weekend, I attended my cousin’s wedding in Ithaca, NY. It was a beautiful wedding, and it was wonderful to see my family. To top it all off, the food at the wedding was fantastic. I was particularly impressed by the Butternut Squash Bisque. It was so wonderful, I could have eaten just that! (But of course, I didn’t.) I decided I had to try my hand at replicating it. If I could have another bowlful, I could get the spices a little closer, but the recipe I came up with is delicious as is. The main difference is that mine isn’t as rich because I used milk instead of cream, mostly because that’s what I have in the house. Either will work well. This is a thick, stick to your ribs, warm you from the inside kind of soup. Perfect for a chilly fall day.

As my grandmother would say, “Enjoy.”

Servings: 6ish (not sure yet as I’ve only had one bowl)

Cooking time: about 2 1/2 hours–1 hour for chopping, about an hour for cooking and another twenty minutes or so for blending and reheating. An immersion blender will significantly reduce the last chunk of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 med-lg butternut squash (it should make about 3 cups of chopped squash)
  • 1 green, cooking apple
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot, ends removed
  • 1 large celery stalk, ends removed
  • 1 med. garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (if you don’t like spicy things, use an 1/8 tsp, but by all means, use some!)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 4 dashes ground nutmeg
  • 2 dashes ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar (key!)
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream (I used 1% milk, and it was delicious, just not quite as rich as the original)
  • dash salt
  1. Wash the veggies. Peel and chop the carrot into about 1/2 inch pieces. Core, peel and chop the apple into 1/2 inch pieces. Chop the celery and onion into similar sized pieces. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Peel the squash, being careful to remove the white layer beneath the skin (it’s bitter). Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Chop into 1 inch pieces. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large pot (at least 6 quarts), melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add herbs and spices except bay leaf (cinnamon through sage). Stir. Add squash and saute for about a minute. Add apple, carrot and celery. Stir well. Add veggie broth and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a slow boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add brown sugar and stir well. Simmer until squash is very tender, about 25-30 minutes (a fork should glide through it). Remove the bay leaf.
  4. Working in small batches (I did four), transfer some of soup into a blender, being sure to get a full ladle of liquid into each batch. Be very careful doing this because a build up of heat in the blender can cause the blender to explode, making a big mess at the least. Don’t fill your blender more than half full at a time. I did mine one third full because I’m paranoid. Blend each batch until smooth, then transfer to a heat-proof bowl. When the last batch is blended, return it to the pot. Pour in soup in the bowl.
  5. Heat over low heat. Gradually stir in the milk at little at a time to make sure it incorporates well. Add a little salt to taste (the broth has salt, so you won’t need much).
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