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January 7, 2009

Creamy Curry Butternut Bisque

I decided to so a little food experimenting the other day. I put up a few good sized butternut squash this fall, a first for me, and since I really don’t have any experience cooking it I felt a little experiment was in order.

Ok, ok, you caught me... I have cooked it before. But only like once and it was just steamed with some butter and brown sugar and wasn't really very good at all, so I don't count it. I decided to try something a little different with two of our butternuts and went with a creamy, bisque-like, curry soup. I'm happy to say that it came out much like I had imagined that it would. I don't often cook, and even at that I don't often cook with a recipe. A guideline yes, but a true recipe not so much. It's a blessing and a curse to be so comfortable winging it and it has re payed me with both some very tasty dishes as well as some real dogs! This one falls into the former category.

So then, first and most importantly, let me introduce the main stars of this show. A couple of nice sized home grown butternut squash and some smallish but very tasty homegrown storage onions from the cold storage.I might mention that I decided to try storing my butternut squash outdoors this year after reading about someone else that uses their front porch as their long term storage option. I kept them out back inside of my small metal shed and well, they froze. It was just too cold out there. The good news is that they seem to have frozen once and then stayed that way so the damage to the texture of the squash was minimal. After a couple of days on the kitchen counter they defrosted nicely and were still very firm.

The ingredients:
•2 med - large butternut squash peeled and chopped to about 1 inch squares.
•Approx 2 cups of onion sliced evenly
•5-6 cloves of garlic. Peeled and rough chopped
•Curry spice and seasoning mix in a small dish. (The seasonings contained about 80% curry seasoning, and the remaining 20% as a mix of onion and garlic powder, pepper, some ginger and a couple pinches of cinnamon.)
•One can or approx 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.
•Cream or milk or both as you prefer.

Cook the onions with about 1/4 stick of butter tempered with a bit of olive oil in a good sized sauce pan until they are nearly translucent and then throw in the garlic. (Tempering the butter with olive oil raises the temperature the butter can reach without burning and lets the onions cook better at this point. Tempering is a fancy pants term that just means putting the oil in the hot pan first and then adding the butter.) When the garlic gets to the point that it's softening and getting well cooked in, toss in about 3/4 of the curry seasoning mix. The heat releases the oils and flavors in the spices and sort of "wakes them up" for the most flavor.

Cook all of this over medium-high for a few minutes stirring occasionally to keep it from burning or sticking too much then add about a half cup of the broth. Stir this really well and make sure to scrape up any little bits of the onion, garlic, curry that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing a pan and will get you lots of good flavor for whatever you are cooking.Now add the chopped squash, the remaining seasonings and the rest of the broth, turn everything together, cover and bring to a slow boil. When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until the squash is completely soft. I added some more butter at this point, but I'd say that was entirely optional, I just like the buttery flavor with squash.

Once the squash is soft, I used a potato masher to break up and mash all the ingredients together. Once you get it well mashed, you may find it to be like a thick applesauce consistency and want to add either some water, or better yet more broth, to thin it a bit. (Don't make it too thin, because we still need to puree and add cream.) You'll also want to add salt to taste at this point as it will still be rather bland. Cook it for another 15 minutes or so on low, and get out either a food processor or stand mixer. If you use a stand mixer you may need to do it in two batches. Pour everything into the processor leaving a little bit of room at the top. Blend until mostly smooth. Now add the milk or cream or, as I did, about even of each and mix further until your happy with the texture and flavor.

And there you go. My Creamy Curry Butternut Squash Bisque.
I topped it with a few sliced onions and some paprika and it was really good.

I did make an interesting observation though, quite by accident. Although not a spicy soup itself, it compliments spicy food very well. We were having buffalo wings for lunch the day that I made this and I had a small bowl of it at the same time. It went really well together strangely? The next day when I ate it for lunch I added a few chopped pieces of a hot pickled pepper to it and it went good together as well.

I hope you give it a try. Let me know if you like, or as always if you have any suggestions that may make it better.
Till next time


Margaret's Ramblings said...

I frequently use butternut for a soup as it is difficult to get a decent 'pumkin' in the UK. I also roast it and steam it and mash it. It is also nice mashed with potatos.

Anonymous said...

How ironic, my wife and I just made this curry soup (also for the first time) this weekend. We liked the soup so much that we served the leftovers as a curry sauce over rice and then again over noodles. It was magnificent every time.

I was just thinking...speaking of winter soups, how are those "leather britches" beans working out for you?

Mrs Flam said...

I love BN Squash It really is a favorite. I am glad to see other people like it too )My poor husband just cant get it , he says its too EARTHY.

Chiot's Run said...

Looks like we're all starting to eat our butternuts. I love mine in soup as well but with chipotle chilis. I put the recipe on my blog today.

I'll have to give this recipe a try.

jayedee said...

beautiful! how i love anything squash! can't wait to try your recipe!

Martin said...

This looks fantastic! My wife and I were just trying to think of something new and creative to do with our butternut. We'll give it a try this week!