Busy Day Butternut Bisque

I'm glad it's June and also a bit terrified it's June. Months have been spent staying at home and trying to slow the spread of a disease we don't know enough about while it threatens our livelihoods, way of life, and lives themselves. So spending more time at home and away from each other absolutely is the right thing to do. And hey, we got to bake some bread and make some stews, right? But it never ceases to amaze me just how very busy quarantining can be.

After all, virtual school is racing to its end, to be replaced by ... ? Work still needs doing and that needs to be shoved into ever-changing spaces in the day and the home. The weather is getting gorgeous, but that also puts lawn and garden care and other outdoor chores on our lists. Who has time for dinner?

You do, if you grab your Instant Pot (or other electronic pressure cooker) and a handful of simple ingredients. I use butternut squash in this bisque, but you can use pumpkin (even canned pureed pumpkin -- just not pumpkin pie filling) if you have easier access to that. I love this one because it tastes creamy without cream and is just smashing served with a grilled cheese sandwich, which is likely to put a smile on my kiddo's face, even if I've heard grumblings about classroom Zoom calls eighteen times earlier in the day.

Instead of the aforementioned grilled cheese (which I do heartily endorse), just about any sandwich will work with this. At the beginning of June, I might opt for a BLT because it makes me think of summer. You could also just toss together a simple salad and have a handful of crackers or a sprinkling of fried onions for the bisque. Just don't fuss too much - you've already had a busy day!

Busy Day Butternut Bisque

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups butternut squash puree or pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups chicken stock

Turn your Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, and heat until shimmering, about 1 minute. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the squash or pumpkin puree and the chicken stock to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the pot, and turn to the manual setting on high-pressure, making sure the steaming valve is closed. Set the time to 8 minutes.

After the pot beeps, carefully open the steaming valve, and allow the steam to fully escape, about 3 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt to the squash mixture. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes

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