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Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 05:47 am

Butternut squash and apple bisque

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  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3-4 tart apples such as Jonathan or Granny Smith
  • 6 c. chicken or vegetable stock, plus additional if needed
  • 1 1/2 c. thinly sliced leeks (white part only) or onions
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 c. heavy cream, plus additional to drizzle if desired
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes:
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Croutons
  • Minced fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram
  • Fried sage leaves
  • Crisply fried crumbled bacon
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Diced fresh apple

Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut into one-inch chunks. You should have about 6 c. Butternut squash vary a lot in size, so if you have less, cut back proportionately on the other ingredients. Peel and core the apples and cut into chunks.

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks or onions, stir to coat, and cover the pan. Sweat the leeks until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and apples and pour in the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the squash and apples are completely cooked.
Purée the mixture with a hand-held blender, food processor, blender or food mill. Cool the mixture before using the blender or food processor – hot ingredients can “explode” in them. Return the mixture to the pan, whisk in the cream and season to taste with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve the soup with or without garnishes, as desired. Serves 6.

NOTE: This bisque lends itself well to several variations. Add a tablespoon of minced fresh ginger or ginger juice and/or a tablespoon of curry powder, or a tablespoon of chili powder. Substitute yoghurt for the cream (just make sure not to boil the soup after adding it). Sauté 2 T. minced sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, or winter savory with the leeks. It also freezes well.

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