Butternut Squash Bisque

Sometimes when I want to make something I’ve never made before (or just haven’t made in a while), I look up a recipe online, then loosely follow the ingredients and directions.  I knew I wanted to make a butternut squash soup, I just wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to do it.  I made one last year, but it was extremely thick and tasted like mashed butternut squash that had been thinned out a little.  I wanted something a little more sophisticated this time.
Butternut Squash Bisque
2 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, minced
2 tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
1 c. chicken stock
1 c. fat free half-and-half
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground sage
salt & pepper
In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and celery, then thyme, sage, salt, and pepper.  Stir to coat vegetables in oil; saute until translucent and soft. 
While the veggies saute, prick butternut squash in several places with a knife or fork.  Microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until soft.  Remove from microwave, allow to cool.  Slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Use a large spoon to remove all squash from skin. 
Add chicken broth and water to the stock pot.  Bring to a simmer over high heat, and add squash to liquid.  Simmer as long as desired – at least 15 minutes. 
Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  If you don’t have one, transfer soup to a regular blender and puree.  Be careful not to fill the blender too full, and hold the top on, as the heat of the soup can force the top off if you don’t!  Return soup to pot.
Stir in the half-and-half, bring soup back to a low simmer.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.  The original recipe garnishes with croutons, but I opted to serve my soup with a beautiful loaf of Italian bread, so we skipped them.
This soup is a comforting, rich dish that will warm you up and put you in the spirit of fall.  This would be a great meal for Halloween night, as it is quick and easy to prepare.  Using fat free half-and-half keeps the calorie count down, and you could use vegetable stock if you wanted to make this a vegetarian meal. 

Andrew and I both enjoyed the velvety texture and delicious flavor of this soup.  It’s definitely one I will make again.

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