We're all itching for spring. For weather warm enough to justify a picnic. For an opportunity to fire up the grill or at least enjoy a sandwich on the patio. But the beginning of March regularly reminds us that winter isn't quite done yet. So it's time to embrace our favorite cold weather meals for just a bit longer while the seasons duke it out a bit. Hey, if you put together the right bowl of comfort, you could find a spot by the window and watch the match:
That particular bowl of comfort is a delightful blend of sweet butternut squash kissed by curry and blended into a creamy bisque that will have your mouth watering. I love finishing my bowl with a sprinkle of fried onion and crushed red pepper and just enough of a drizzle of chili oil to remind me that spicy food makes my mouth happy. If that's not for you, feel free to skip it or even opt for a dollop of crème fraîche. The fried onions though? Such a lovely flavor/texture combination! Don't skip 'em!
You can pair this soup with chunks of tender bread, a crisp side salad, or just have it on its own. My favorite option? I love assembling a spicy grilled cheese sandwich for a dish like this. If I'm opting to watch the battle of the seasons outside my window, I might even slice such a sandwich into chunks and use them, crouton-style, in my soup. Let the show begin!
- 2 T. bacon fat or other cooking fat
- 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. curry powder (choose your favorite variety)
- 1 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 c. half & half
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Crushed red pepper, for garnish (optional)
- Fried onion, for garnish (optional)
- Chili oil, for garnish (optional)
Melt the cooking fat of your choice in a large stockpot. Add the cubed squash, onion, garlic, thyme, and curry powder. Sauté, stirring often, over medium-high heat until the onion and garlic are cooked and fragrant and the squash is slightly softened, about 15 minutes.
Carefully add the broth of your choice and the water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the stockpot, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is entirely softened. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until no chunks remain. Blend in the half & half and adjust the seasonings according to your tastes.
When serving the bisque, consider garnishing each both with a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and fried onions and a drizzle of chili oil.
- Yields: 3 servings
- Preparation Time: 45 minutes