I’m a sucker for bisque. If it’s on the menu, I’ve got to try it. Last year at Wolfgang Puck’s Express restaurant at Downtown Disney, I tried the famed Butternut Squash soup. Loved it! Now that butternut squash is abundant in the grocery stores, it was finally time to work with this sweet winter squash.
Drum roll please…pictured below is Butternut Squash Bisque with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese. It is very creamy with a hint of heat that hits after you savor the sweet goodness.
Many lessons follow about working with this type of squash, adapting it to various food preferences and about what to do with the leftovers. Skip down to the recipe now. Or, follow me on a butternut squash soup adventure.
Isn’t it lovely?
These sat on my counter, taunting me, for far too long. It’s a good thing they can be stored for a month or two in a cool storage area.
Cut off the top and bottom ends of the squash. The seeds are on the big end.
Scoop out the seeds using a spoon, or better yet, a grapefruit spoon.
Next, peel off the skin with a vegetable peeler. A heavy duty one works best. Make sure to get down to the bright orange flesh. It may take a couple of swipes.
Cut the squash into rounds and dice.
It’s yields a lot of squash.
At this point you might be wondering whether you could just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, place it face down, coat the skin with olive oil or butter, season it with salt and pepper and roast it in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. The answer would be YES. But, if I had used this method, you wouldn’t have these beautiful pictures and detailed tutorial about working with butternut squash.
A little more chopping. Dice one medium-sized onion.
Melt butter and/or olive oil in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt to the pot and cook over medium-high heat to soften the onions and bring out the flavor of the spices, about 5 minutes. I couldn’t resist showing one of my favorite gadgets, a garlic press. No fuss, no muss.
A lovely fragrance will begin to waft throughout the house.
About the cayenne pepper, the soup really does need this heat, otherwise it is bland. A little research revealed that Wolfgang Puck’s recipe uses cardamom, a pricey little ingredient found in specialty grocery stores. There really isn’t a substitute for cardamom. But, with the cayenne pepper, this soup sings!
Add the diced squash, water, chicken stock and lemon juice to the pot. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
Puree the mixture. This is really a deal breaker for me when it comes to some recipes. I used an immersion blender so I can puree right in the pot. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this cooking tool. It took about 2-3 minutes.
Otherwise, transfer the soup to a food processor in batches and puree.
At this point I have not added any milk or cream…on purpose. Once you dish out a cup of the soup, add a tablespoon of milk or cream…half and half, fat-free milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk…you get the picture. You have choices. Everyone can enjoy the soup!
Finally, top the soup with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese…you won’t be disappointed.
It makes a lot of soup! Good thing it freezes and defrosts very nicely. It also makes a nice pasta sauce.
Do you have a variation to the recipe? I’d love to hear about it.