I never knew what the big deal was about butternut squash soup until I tasted some at a Zagat-rated restaurant. It was thick and creamy like most squash soups are, but what made this one stand out was the surprising taste of apple in it. As soon as I got home from dinner that night, I searched the Internet for a similar soup recipe. None of the recipes I found was exactly what I was looking for and I was disappointed. Then at the end of a long day of Christmas shopping, I came across a cookbook for soups and stews that contained a recipe for a butternut and apple soup. Although, I was supposed to be buying gifts for others, I quickly snatched up the cookbook and bought a gift for myself!
Winter Squash and Apple Bisque
Recipe from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook Soup & Stew
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 Pippin, Granny Smith, or other tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 butternut squash, about 2 lb, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus whole leaves for garnish
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/2 cup half-and-half
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onion and shallots until softened, about five minutes.
2. Add the apples and squash and cook until nicely coated, about 3 minutes longer.
3. Add the stock and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat. Using a handheld or standing blender, purée the soup until smooth.
6. Stir in the half-and-half and season with salt and pepper.
7. Reheat gently over medium-low heat.
8. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the sour cream and rosemary and thyme leaves.
Makes 6-8 servings
1. Just a reminder, butternut squash are easier to peel if you microwave them on high for two minutes first.
2. I would have liked this soup even more if it had a more pronounced apple flavor. The next time I make this soup, I will add one more apple. Also, I think I will experiment with different varieties of apples to see which one gives the soup the best flavor.
3. Other dense, orange-fleshed winter squash could be substituted for the butternut squash.