I make this soup every other year for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and every year I creatively change the recipe. It's become a standard course for the dinner, but never have I made it the same way twice. Each year, as with many things I cook, a recipe may be handy, or at arms reach in my cookbook collection, but never followed to the “teaspoon,” as it were. For Thanksgiving this year, I’m sharing it here with you, but I highly recommend you loosely follow this recipe, and add your own bit of creativity along the way. I’ll try and give you a few suggestions that I’ve used along the way.
Steve Hartman’s Butternut Squash Bisque.
1/2 Stick of Butter
2 medium leeks, white parts only, washed well and rough chopped
1 cup of rough chopped celery
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, roughly chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped into 1 inch cubes
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of brandy (optional)
1/2 cup of heavy cream Salt and white pepper, to taste
In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Before I met my vegetarian wife, I would have added a few chopped strips of my homemade bacon here. Add the leeks, celery, carrots, ginger and jalapeño pepper and sauté approximately 15 minutes to wilt the veggies with some salt and white pepper. Stir in the squash and stock and bring to a boil. Add the brandy, cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash and other veggies are very soft.
Let cool slightly. At this point, I use a hand-held immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. You can use a blender, but work in batches. The soup purée is now ready for the cream. Stir in the cream and heat through, but do not let it boil again. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into individual bowls or cups. Serves 6-8 friends or family members easily. Garnish with a little crème fraîche or sour cream, and maybe a sprinkle of Italian parsley or cilantro.
Let me know your twist on this recipe!