Butternut Squash Bisque - Healthy Comfort Food

Finally, a comfort food that's healthy.  I heard a discussion recently on Food Channel where they were discussing how everyone's idea of comfort food is different.   Some like warm and hearty, some like crisp and refreshing, others light and salty and one even mentioned salad...Seriously, are you kidding me???

This butternut squash bisque is sure to be a favorite even amongst those with the pickiest of palates.  It is great heated up later...Make a big pot on Sunday afternoon to enjoy the following week.  Daughter Claire recently took home leftover butternut squash bisque in a cup and drank it cold, out of the cup, professing it's yumminess.  







Start with a butternut squash, which is a type of winter squash.  Slice it in two; brush both sides with grapeseed oil or olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Place, flesh side down, on a roasting pan or cookie sheet.  I like to use a foil lined plan to save clean-up time.  Or if you are cooking it on your Big Green Egg:  Using direct heat, cook flesh side down for about 15 minutes and then turn over and cook for approximately 30 more minutes.









Save the seeds.  Roast the seeds in a separate pan for 10-12 minutes in a little olive oil and sea salt.  They are delicious and great for use as a garnish to the soup before serving.



You can sometimes find butternut squash pre-cut and cubed in the grocery's refrigerated produce section. If you buy the pre-cut, get about 2 pounds.  Toss it in olive and oil and salt. Roast the squash in a pre-heated oven at 375° (or on your Big Green Egg, if you prefer a bit of smoky flavor) until it is tender when tested with a fork or sharp knife, which normally takes about 45 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, you'll prepare the holy trinity of chopped carrots, onion and celery and saute until tender, about 8-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  I like grapeseed oil, but canola oil or olive oil works fine as well.  Did I mention that my huge Le Crueset pot is one of my favorite things?



After the vegetables have become slightly tender, add 7 cups of vegetable broth.  To this, you will add the butternut squash flesh.  


If you get some char like this, I skim the black skin off.  It works best to scoop it out with an ice cream scoop, holding it with tongs if it is hot.



Let the squash and vegetables simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until there's not a huge amount of liquid relative to your squash and vegetables.  Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to your taste.



Remove from heat and cool the soup a bit before adding to blender to puree.  Don't fill the blender container more than half full for each batch as it expands when pureed.  Or use an immersion blender if you prefer.  Of course, I had to have one.  After using it one time, I have gone back to my trusty Ninja blender.  



Puree the soup in batches and return to the pan, heating it if needed.  For some heavenly creaminess, add some heavy cream.  


Once the soup is spooned out to serving bowl,  top with a dollop of sour cream and some roasted seeds for a beautiful presentation.  Freshly grated nutmeg is the finishing touch.  

Nothing compares to the aroma and taste of freshly grated nutmeg.
Enjoy!

Kim and David

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 RECIPE


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INGREDIENTS



1 butternut squash, medium sized or about 2 lbs. cubed pre-cut butternut squash 
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
3 carrots, diced (1 cup, approximately)
2 celery stalks, diced (1 cup, approximately)
1 medium sweet onion, diced (1 1/2 cup, approximately)
7 cups vegetable broth
1 whole nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup sour cream, optional, as garnish
Roasted seeds, optional as garnish

Roast the butternut squash in a preheated 375° oven (or with direct heat on your Big Green Egg) until tender, about 45 minutes.  While the squash cooks, heat about 1 tablespoon oil and saute the carrots, onion and celery until slightly tender, 8-10 minutes.  

Add 7 cups of vegetable broth to the vegetable saute mixture.  Next you'll scoop out of the shells, the tender butternut squash flesh, adding it to the broth mixture.  If works best if you've allowed the squash to cool a bit.  If it's hot still, just hold on with tongs in one hand while scraping out the flesh with an ice cream scoop in the other hand.

Simmer the soup mixture, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the broth has reduced somewhat, and there's not a huge amount of broth relative to the vegetables and squash. Cool a bit and add in batches to blender and puree.  Don't fill the blender to more than half full, and the mixture expands when pureed.  Add the pureed soup back to the pan to warm.  

Serve as it is, once it is hot again.  Or for extra creaminess, add the heavy cream.  Just before serving, add a dollop of whipped cream to each serving and a few roasted seeds, finishing with some freshly grated nutmeg.  Makes about 10 (1 cup) servings.


Download just the recipe here.


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