Squash Apple Bisque. The perfect soup for fall.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Tangy Apples make great friends!
This is so good, it deserves the fancy-pants French term Bisque rather than plain old soup!
This recipe comes from my friend Jen in Minnesota – land o’ lakes and good apples. I’ve made a “version” of this soup for many years with only so-so results. So last week when I was up north, I went back to the expert to get the real recipe and discovered Jen’s secret ingredient.
When I made it for dinner last week, the Parking Guy inquired why THIS soup was SO MUCH BETTER than all the other times I’ve made it.
I’m telling you….it’s the secret ingredient.
Here’s what you need:
1 Butternut Squash (mine has already been cooked), half & half, vegetable broth, water (not pictured) 2-3 apples, onion, butter, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
Have you guessed the secret ingredient yet?
I think one of the secrets to this recipe is baking the squash before it becomes soup. Peeling a butternut squash is a HUGE pain so baking eliminates this step. Baking also gives the squash a delicious, nutty roasted flavor.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grab a butternut squash, cut off the end with the stem and CAREFULLY cut the squash in half lengthwise, right down the middle.
Use a big spoon to scoop out all of the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a big baking sheet. I like to cover my baking sheets with foil. Makes clean-up a snap and keeps your pans from getting all icky.
Bake the squash at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until it is tender and easily stabbed with knife. The cooking time might vary depending on the size and thickness of your particular squash.
When it’s done, it will be golden in color and a little shrively. Allow the squash to cool for easier handling. This step can be done ahead of time — the squash is MUCH easier to peel after it has cooled.
In the meantime, chop up 1 medium onion.
Melt 1/2 a stick (4 tablespoons) of butter in a large pot and cook the onion over medium heat until it is soft and translucent.
We don’t want the onions to brown so keep the heat medium to medium low.
If your squash has cooled, you should now be able to easily peel away the outer brown skin.
Add the baked squash to the onions in the big soup pot.
If your squash is still screamin’ hot and you’d like to just get on with things and make the dang soup, you can use a big spoon to scrape away the fleshy part of the squash from the peel. Watch your fingertips though…hot baked squash is murder on the fingers.
Add 1 can (14.5 ounce) of vegetable broth to the pot.
Hey, did I mention that this is a Vegetarian Recipe?
Peel a nice flavorful apple – choose something fairly firm and with lots of flavor like a Honeycrisp, Haralson, McIntosh or Jonathan. Granny Smith Apples will also work in a pinch. Cut the apple away from the core and chop it up.
If your apples are small, use two…we want lots of apple flavor. However, save 1 apple for the end of the recipe!
Add the chopped apples to the pot. The squash will start to break apart as you stir in the broth. If your squash and apple mixture is especially thick, add 1 cup of water.
Simmer the soup over medium low heat 20 – 30 minutes until the apples are tender and just starting to get a little mushy.
Normally, I prefer my soups to be slightly on the chunky side. I’m not a huge fan of blending soups. However, this soup when blended just a bit, takes on a whole other dimension…silky, smooth, and luxurious.
You can use a regular blender (you know, the kind for making margaritas) OR, if you’re the Kitchen Gadget Queen (ahem), you can use a hand-held or immersion blender.
I love this thing. It makes blending a snap as you use it right in the soup pot. No more transferring hot soup to and from the regular blender. It’s also great for making quick whipped cream. Not that I would ever do that.
Blend the soup until it is silky smooth and all of the apple chunks have been blended away.
You can totally do this in a regular blender. Just remember a few important things…
Be VERY CAREFUL transferring the hot soup to and from the blender jar.
Also, hot liquids will EXPAND in the blender so you never want to fill up the blender all the way. 1/2 to 3/4 full will give space for the soup to blend and expand.
Hold on to the lid of the blender with a towel and your hand. If you don’t, the lid will FLY OFF and hot soup will go everywhere.
Blend the soup in batches — you can use an large bowl to hold the blended soup while you do the other batches. Once it has all been blended smooth, return the soup to the cooking pot.
Add 1 pint of half & half to the soup. Now it is smooth AND creamy!
Oh my! It looks as if the other 1/2 stick of butter has jumped into my soup pot!
Yes! BUTTER is the secret ingredient! Add the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and cook the soup over low heat to melt the butter and warm the half & half.
(And to think that I used to make this with olive oil….no wonder my soup wasn’t this good.)
Remember the apple that we saved? Now is the time to peel it, cut it away from the core and dice it into tiny pieces.
This will add just a hint of crunch to your soup and even more apple flavor.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Also add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.
Nutmeg is primarily a spice used for baking. It is one of the stars of pumpkin pie and so is also great with squash. You can buy it already ground or as whole little nuts.
The nuts have extra-super nutmeg flavor and can be ground on a tiny grater or microplane or with a special nutmeg grinder which you will own if you have a kitchen gadget addiction like me.
My name is Claudia, and I have a nutmeg grinder.
Start SLOWLY adding nutmeg. It is a spice that can quickly sneak up and over-power your dish. I’d start with 1/2 teaspoon and give it a taste. Julia Child used to say that you only want to taste a hint of nutmeg. You don’t want your guests to say “Oooh hoo, Nutmeg!”
And there you have it! Creamy, dreamy, delicious Butternut Squash Apple Bisque!
When I was lucky and lived in Minneapolis, Jen would bring me a care package of this soup whenever she made a batch. THAT is a great friend! We met the first day of grad school and have been best buds ever since. One of these days I’m going to sneak over to her house with my camera and make her give us the recipe for Monster Cookies.
Until then, make this soup. And don’t forget the butter!
Here’s the recipe!
Squash Apple Bisque