Butternut Bisque with Buttered Nuts

Butternut Bisque with Buttered Nuts

Come fall, winter squash are everywhere in farmer's markets and grocery stores, stacked everywhere like an odd assortment of mutant pumpkins. Don't be daunted: pear-shaped butternuts, the best of these vitamin-packed powerhouses, are dense-fleshed and enticingly sweet -- plus, they keep well and are available long after summer's bounty has dwindled. This velvety-rich soup gets added sweetness from a bit of maple syrup, and buttery crunch from toasted pecans. Delicious.

Ready In: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise, and the seeds removed with a spoon
olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 onion, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups half and half
pinch of grated nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on the sweetness of your squash)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375ºF. Grease a large baking dish with olive oil, and roast the squash, cut-side down, for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender (it should offer no resistance when pierced with a fork).
  2. Meanwhile heat one tablespoon of the butter in a very small pan over medium-low heat and, when it foams, fry the pecans for 3 minutes until they are golden and smell toasty. Set them aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, but not browned, around 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the peel of the squash and add it to the soup pot along with the broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Puree the soup using a hand blender, or in batches, using great caution, in a blender or food processor. Stir in the half and half, then add nutmeg, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to taste and reheat very gently. Serve garnished with the nuts.

See all recipes from Catherine Newman's "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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