Monday, October 23, 2006

Butternut Squash Bisque With Maple Syrup And Sage

I know I'm a bit late in jumping on the butternut/winter squash bandwagon. So many great food bloggers have already been making and posting variations of this wonderful ode to Fall. Me? I've been under the weather, as they say. Whacked by a flu bug that attached itself to me somewhere between the east and west coasts as we returned from our recent vacation. Well, I'm getting back to my old self now, feeling better, and had to catch up with my blogger friends and get some soup on the table.

I received maple syrup inspiration for this soup from a delicious bowl of pumpkin-maple syrup soup that I had at the Simon Pearce restaurant in Quechee (prounounced Kwee-chee), Vermont recently. And while the restaurant's version was thicker, sweeter and more pumpkin pie filling-like, I've made mine on the savory side, showcasing the sage and squash with just a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup. Try it. I think you'll like it.

Christine's Butternut Squash Bisque
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or Smart Balance Buttery Spread (not "light")
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (4-5 leaves)
1/4 cup 100% maple syrup
1 large butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 gala or braeburn apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
32 ounces good vegetable stock or broth
heavy cream or fat free 1/2 & 1/2 to drizzle over the top (optional)
toasted, slivered almonds as garnish (optional)

Preparation:
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil and butter until the onions have softened but not browned.
Add the garlic, apples, salt, pepper, cinnamon and maple syrup, continuing to saute until the garlic and apples soften. Take care to adjust the heat so nothing burns or over-browns. You don't want to have browned veggies changing the color of the dish.
Add the squash and sage, rubbing the sage between your fingers as you drop it into the pot, releasing more of its essential oils. Sautee a bit longer until the squash begins to soften.
Add the vegetable stock, stir, cover the pot and let simmer until the squash is cooked through.
Now is the time to taste and adjust your seasonings if necessary. I added a pinch more salt at this point to bring up the flavors.
Off the heat, I used my immersion blender to turn the soup into a smooth, velvety puree. You can also achieve this by pureeing in batches in a food processor. Be careful not to puree too much at one time as the hot liquid can expand quickly and escape from the food processor, causing severe burns.

That's it! So easy. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle a bit of cream or fat free 1/2 & 1/2 on top for a beautiful, easy presentation. Creme Fraiche would be good here, topped with a few toasted, slivered almonds. Fried sage leaves would be awesome and I plan to try them soon.

I'm so happy to be "back in the saddle", so to speak, cooking and blogging again. The sage, fresh from my garden, makes this recipe a good contribution to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, an event begun by my friend Kalyn over at Kalyn's Kitchen. Now over a year old, WHB is hosted each week by different food bloggers from around the world. The guest host for this week's event is Fiber of 28 Cooks. Be sure to visit her beautiful site for great recipes and to see the WHB round-up next Monday. Click here to read about WHB. If you'd like to join in the fun, email your link to CLBritto AT LancasterGeneral DOT org by Sunday, 3 PM Mountain Time.

14 comments:

Katie said...

I have loads of pumpkin but no butternut squash - although I may be able to do a trade with a neighbor who has the opposite. I also have a cherished bit of maple syrup left that must be used....thanks for the inspiration - and welcome back (a bit late...I just got back myself)

Dianna said...

Hi C.
We just happen to have a butternut squash that's just lying around aching for the making. The bisque looks beautiful and very tasty. Just need some maple syrup and we're in business. We're off to Sac this weekend so, maybe we can have a Halloween treat when we get back. Let's do lunch then :) Best, D.

sher said...

The picture looks like a beautiful artwork--Jackson Pollok soup?? :):)

christine said...

Thanks Sher! I'm in good company then.

Jann said...

The bisque looks delicious.....I think you know how much I love squash foods from prior blogs...will add this one to the file!

Anonymous said...

we just cooked this one up...and it is delicious...thanks for recipe.

Kalyn said...

Sorry to hear you're feeling a bit sickly. Hopefully the soup will help. I've been a bit slow getting on the squash kick too, but I just bought some today. The soup sounds delicious. I like squash soup, but not the sweet kind, so I bet I'd like it.

Brilynn said...

It's never too late for squash soup! I've been enjoying making a different squash soup every week.

christine said...

Katie,
I think pumpkin would work just as well in a soup like this. If you have so much of it, why don't you give it a try? Somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to remember making a pumpkin soup with onions and leeks. It was wonderful. I'll try to do it again and, if successful, I'll post it.

Hello Anonymous,
Glad the recipe worked for you. I'd like to know who you are.

Kalyn,
Thanks for your condolences. I'm feeling better now. I sure hate it when I'm recovering from one thing only to get hit with another!
How does the maple syrup fit on the glycemic index scale? I felt that using just 1/4 cup would be okay.

Brilynn,
Thanks for stopping by. I just visited your site and bookmarked it for future viewing. It's great meeting new bloggers, isn't it?

PatL said...

Hi, Christine, we harvested lots of butternut squash recently and I don't live too far from Quechee! And I've been butternut blogging for about a month, too! I can't believe how versatile the doggone things are. Hadn't thought to add maple syrup, but now I certainly will! thanks for the idea!

christine said...

Hi Pat,
I see from your blog that you've made curried pumpkin soup, one of my favorites. Good luck with the butternut squash. I loved Vermont and New Hampshire and hope to return soon.

sarah said...

to anyone browsing the internet, this is a lovely bisque. it's on the sweet side, but thick the way I like it. delicious. the apple is brilliant.

Christine said...

Thank you so much Sarah! Your timely comment has reminded me to make squash soup again.

Rachelle said...

Hi, after trying some Butternut Squash Bisque (at the Hotel Del Coronado), I wanted to try to make it myself at home. I did a google search for a recipe, and of coure it returned millions. I picked your link, and was surprised to see that you are from Humboldt! So am I, bu tnow we reside in So Ca! :) It was neat to go through your Humboldt list, and stumble apon one of my Dad's old bosses blog!