As November begins, the amount of cooking and baking I do with squash and pumpkins rapidly increases. And while it's hard to argue with a good muffin or pie, one of my favorite ways to use these seasonal favorites is in soup. My CSA farm provides so many perfect honeynut squashes and I delight in turning them into all manner of goodness, but this bisque is among my favorites.
Now, here's the thing: if you need to avoid dairy, please make this soup anyway. The truth of the matter is that honeynut and butternut squashes are perfect for pureeing because they end up with a creamy consistency even if you skip the cream and cheese called for in this recipe. I recommend adding ¾ cup of vegetable or chicken broth as a substitution for the dairy and continue with the recipe as written. It's delicious either way!
I love serving this soup topped with the condiments listed in the recipe, but also a sage leaf or two floated on the surface of a bowl. Then a half a sandwich you really like for dipping into this delightful soup that gives you a little of all of the flavors of the season and more. Enjoy!
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt - plus more to taste as needed
- 2 pounds butternut or honeynut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ pound goat cheese - divided
- 1 teaspoon harissa - plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt - to taste
In a small bowl, combine the first 5 (ginger through nutmeg) ingredients. Sift through a fine sieve and store in an airtight container.
In a large, heavy pot, toss the onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the squash, cover with the lid, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend you made in the first step, and the water to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot (you can also cool the soup and blend it in batches with a stand alone blender). Add the heavy cream, three-fourths of the cheese, and 1 teaspoon of the harissa to the soup; blend again with the immersion blender or whisk thoroughly to combine. Season the soup with salt and black pepper, as desired. Serve the soup with extra cheese and harissa to use as condiments at the table.
- Yields: 4-6 servings
- Preparation Time: About 1 hour