Saturday, October 4, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque {Recipe}

I love Fall - the crisp air, chilly mornings, the leaves turning colors. Football weekends and our family's annual apple cider press. The kids are back to school - we can start to have a routine again which is great and cuts down a bit on the chaos. Autumn is also my favorite food season - all of the warming spices, roasted  meats and vegetables and comforting soups and stews.

One of my most favorite fall soups to serve is a simple curried butternut squash bisque (or cream soup). This version tastes so rich with the curry powder and the caramelized onions but it's actually quite light - prepared without any cream or stock at all. Best of all it doesn't take much time to prepare; you could have it on the table in an hour and if you've roasted the squash ahead of time it only takes about 20 minutes!

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque (Serves 8-10)

1 butternut squash
1 red onion (large, about 2 cups chopped)
1 TBS olive oil or coconut oil
2 TBS curry powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups water

1. First roast the squash by preheating the oven to 400°F and slicing the squash in half lengthwise. Empty out the seeds from the cavity and place the squash halves face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or tinfoil (to make cleanup easier). Roast for around 40 minutes until the squash is soft when poked with a fork. When the squash is cool enough to handle scrape out the flesh and set it aside.

2. Roughly chop the onion (no need to worry about the size of the chop since you'll be pureeing the soup later).

3. In a heavy soup pot heat the oil over medium high heat, then add the onion and salt and saute until the onion has softened and begun to caramelize. Once the onion is softened and browned, add the curry powder and cook for a minute or so, stirring so it won’t burn.

4. Next add the squash and the water, stirring well. Allow the soup to boil gently for a few minutes – since everything is already cooked you don’t need to cook it long. The vegetables should be covered in water, so you might need to add more water, depending on how big the squash was to start.

5. Now puree the soup. I love using an immersion blender for this, because you can do it right in the pan while the soup is still quite hot. If you’re using a regular blender you might want to let the soup cool down some so you don’t blow the top off the blender. Return the soup to the pot, heat it up again and you’re done!

Now this is the most basic version – here are some ways to adapt it to make it even better:
  • The recipe is vegan, but it tastes great if you use chicken stock instead of water.
  • When you roast the squash, try chopping the top off of a head of garlic so the cloves are exposed and sticking it under one of the squash hollows to roast – when the squash is done you’ll have a head of mild, nutty creamy roast garlic that you can squeeze right into the soup when you add the squash.
  • Roast the squash a day or two before if you're baking something else in the oven, then just scoop out the flesh and store it in the fridge until you're ready to make the soup.
  • Use a bit less water and add a half cup or so of coconut milk to the soup – you’ll have Curried Coconut Squash Bisque.
  • Add a small can of diced green chiles before pureeing, or saute a mild chile along with the onions for a spicy kick.
  • This soup freezes beautifully, so you might as well make a full pot and freeze the leftovers in smaller portion sizes to reheat later.
Do you have a favorite fall soup? I'd love to hear from you if you do - and leave me a link to your recipe in the comments so I can try it myself!

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This recipe was originally posted on my food & craft blog