Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque

After being spoiled with beautiful weather all September long, October has swooshed in and brought rain, drizzle and downpours -  and we're only five days in!  The one positive thing I can say about the weather right now is that it has marked the return of "SOUP NIGHT" at my house.  There's something about the cooler weather, the clouds, the rain that makes me long for a good bowl of soup with some delicious bread - and maybe a blanket and a good book to curl up and enjoy on my couch.



This particular recipe is a little more labor intensive than most soups I make... but it's WELL worth the energy because it's UNBELIEVABLY DIVINE!!!

Here's what you'll need:

Olive Oil, Pears, Salt & Pepper, Butternut Squash, Mild Curry Powder, Onion, Apple Juice, Heavy Cream

Start by prepping your fruits & vegetables.

Peel the butternut squash (this would be the labor intensive part to me) and then cut it open and remove the seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon. Chop the squash into roughly 1" pieces.







Peel and chop your pears also.  I used very ripe Bosc pears because they needed to be used up... but I would have preferred some firmer fruit, mostly for how much easier they would have been to peel!



Also cut an onion in half and then slice it thinly.



Now that the prep work is done... it's time to start on the soup.  In a large stockpot, heat 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat and then add your onions... stirring for several minutes until they start to soften and turn translucent.




Add in the butternut squash and the pear and season with salt & pepper.


Decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash starts to soften a little and slightly caramelizes, about 15 minutes..


Add in 4 1/2 teaspoons of a good curry powder.  I used Madras curry powder which is very mild and almost sweet - if this is your first adventure in curried soups... my caution would be to start off mild and work your way up the curry heat scale in further batches.  The idea of this soup is not to be spicy... but rather bursting with flavor!


Stir the curry powder in and let it cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the curry to "bloom" which is fancy kitchen talk for "make your whole house smell glorious and really infuse the flavors into the squash."

Then add in 1 cup of apple juice or apple cider, depending on what you have handy.


Increase the heat to medium and add 3 cups of water, then let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes or until squash is cooked all the way through.



When your squash is fully cooked, add 1 cup of heavy cream.


And take one last opportunity to season with salt & pepper to your taste.


VERY CAREFULLY, and in small batches transfer the soup into a blender to liquefy and get that beautiful smooth bisque texture.


Then serve it up with a nice dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream) and some fresh dill if you're into that sort of thing.  I'm not...and I didn't have dill but it would have looked nice presentation wise!


This soup absolutely screams FALL and I hope you enjoy it every bit as much as my family did!  It's definitely a favorite of mine and the hubby's!



CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & PEAR BISQUE
Prep time: 10 minutes     Cook Time:  50 minutes     Ready in: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, strings & seeds scooped out and cut into 1" cubes
1-2 large pears, preferably Bosc, peeled, halved, cored and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1 cup apple cider
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
Creme fraiche or sour cream, for garnish

Directions:

In a 6-qt stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the squash and pear and season with salt and pepper.  Decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash softens and slightly caramelizes, about 15 minutes.

Add the curry powder and continue stirring for 1 minute to let the curry flavors bloom.  Pour in the apple cider.  Increase the heat to medium, add the 3 cups of water, and simmer until the squash is completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the cream and return the soup to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.  In batches, carefully liquefy the hot soup in a blender.

To serve, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.



6 comments:

  1. Looks delish! Definitely going on my menu for next month. Though the blending could be problematic without a blender. I think I can get creative...

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  2. Megan, I would try mashing the vegetables then as much as you can before adding the cream. It will still have a different texture, but the flavor will be there for sure. OR... a cheap blender for $19.99??

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  3. Does sound yummy..I too need a blender.

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  4. Bisque, huh? Aren't you fancy? Sounds good!

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  5. Love this! Thanks for being bold with the curry. This is just the kick my winter needed:)

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