Saturday, December 3, 2011

Recipe: Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque

My semester is slowwwwwwly crawling to a close. I'm not really sure if any length of a Christmas break would be enough to recover from this whirlwind! I have several papers to compose this weekend, but I purchased a squash and pear this week specifically for this awesome-looking recipe, so I took some time off homework to hit up my kitchen.

I found the recipe on Pinterest, the best site ever. The recipe looked good, but it involved onions (which I hate buying for no explainable reason), cream (I prefer to avoid dairy), chicken stock (...yeah), and curry seasoning (I should probably buy some of this...someday...but not today). So I decided to take the general idea and apply it to my standard creamy soup template.

I was really pleased with the result. After the first taste, I couldn't really taste the pear, and it tasted like my regular butternut squash soup. Had all my work been a waste? But then I sat down with a bowl and tried again. Woah. Suddenly I noticed the subtle sweetness. It wasn't a burst of PEAR, but an enhanced level of the squash's sweetness. Because I'm a poor college student who generally opts for simplicity, I rarely experience this kind of flavor depth in my kitchen.

Would I make this again? Yes.
Would I make it for others? Absolutely.

Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque
Inspired by this recipe by Memories in the Baking

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 pear (Anjou or Bartlett), peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic (OR half an onion, chopped)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or more or less, depending on how thick you want it!)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • any other spices (I, of course, suggest cayenne pepper!)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice that beautiful squash in half lengthwise.

3. Remove seeds and set aside.

4. Chop the squash into quarters, cut off the skin, and dice the squash into 1- or 2-inch chunks. The smaller you cut them, the faster it will roast! :) Put your squash cubes on a baking sheet with tin foil and nonstick cooking spray. Place in oven.

5. If you don't want to keep your seeds, set your timer to 40 minutes, toss your seeds in the trash, and skip to step 8. If you want to keep the squash seeds to use for garnish or snacking, set the timer for 30 minutes.

6. This part sucks. There's no sugar-coating it. Clean off your seeds. There's no easy way of doing it. Get rid of all those stupid, slimy, orange strings. Rinse them off in a colander.

7. Drizzle your clean seeds with a little olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt and whatever else you want (cayenne pepper!!). You can bake them plain, but that's boring. When your 30-minute timer goes off, make a little room on your baking sheet, add the seeds in a single layer, lower the temperature on your oven to 325 degrees, and reset the timer to 15 minutes.

8. Remove from oven and let cool. And don't forget to turn off your oven. ;)

9. Heat your garlic (or onion) in a large saucepan in about a tablespoon of oil. I actually have a jar of minced garlic (which is why I prefer using garlic instead of buying an onion!), so I don't have to cook this down very much. If you are using an actual garlic clove or onion, then cook this for several minutes like you normally would.

Love this stuff.
10. Carefully add the stock. If your saucepan is really hot, it might sizzle, smoke, and splatter when the liquid hits your cookware. In other words, don't have your saucepan on too hot, and/or lift the pot off the stove for a second as you add in the first cup.

11. Add your butternut squash and pear.

12. Puree! Either use an immersion/stick blender, or dump the contents into a blender or food processor (and add it back to the saucepan afterwards). This is a good time to assess the thickness. I added another 1/4 cup of broth.

13. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, curry, or whatever you want! Start small and keep adding until you like it.

14. Garnish each bowl with your roasted squash seeds.  Serve with bread. May I recommend Irish soda bread? :)

With a Christmas tree in the background, just for good measure.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds AMAZING, and I have a cup of soup for lunch every day. I need to plan this for next week. Brilliant!