Some people think bisque is just a fancy word for soup, but let me be the first to tell you the difference is like eating a sliced, cheese-like product versus fine camembert. So forgive me if I get a little snooty about our Butternut Squash Bisque. This dish is the one you'll want to make when you need to impress your mother-in-law or otherwise get her to pipe down about your cooking. It's also the dish that even your kids will slurp down thinking its too creamy to be healthy. Trick's on them! And the roasted butternut squash recipe will get everyone to beg for the secret (the right temp and EVO).
Ode to the mighty butternut - creamy and hearty at once. It was grown to become a bisque.
Picking the best butternut squash
The best produce leads to the tastiest recipes. A keen selection will ensure a perfect recipe. Select by weight first. It should feel heavy and substantial. Then inspect the skin for any obvious imperfections and indentations. The color should be a uniform light beige. Choose a matte finish over a shiny one, which indicates that it's under-ripe.
Make sure the stem is intact and firmly attached. The stems start to loosen as the vegetable gets too over-ripe.
Spices for butternut squash bisque
If you want to be a consummate show-off, which I heartedly recommend, add a teaspoon of either spice below. These additions are particularly impactful around the holidays.
- Ground cayenne
- Smoked paprika
sweet potato and butternut squash
Both squash and sweet potato have a similar consistency when cooked, so sweet potato is a fantastic option for changing up the flavor profile. But keep in mind; it will be a sweeter variation, so you'll want to increase your savory ingredients to compensate. Otherwise, you may just want to serve it for dessert.
- Roast the sweet potato along with the butternut squash.
- Scoop out the middle, discarding the skin.
- Add a teaspoon of coriander and an extra teaspoon of white pepper, and cumin to the pot of sautéed vegetables.
- Add sweet potato to the soup during the first cooking stage (before the cream).
- Proceed with the remainder of the recipe.
with heavy cream instead of coconut milk
You can use heavy cream instead of coconut milk. The recipe in terms of preparation would be the same, however the bisque will have a thicker consistency. Coconut milk has a distinctive flavor, whereas heavy cream does not.
Place the leftover bisque in an airtight container. It can hold in the fridge for up to five days. It will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 - Prep squash and roast
- Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Cut the squash length-wise, scooping out the seeds.
- Quarter and place on a baking sheet. Either with your fingers or a brush, coat the flesh side with olive oil.
- You can discard or toast the seeds on a sheet tray at 300 °F for 15 minutes. Use them as a garnish.
- Roast in an oven set at 400°F for approximately 35 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Use a small fork to determine.
- Once cooled, use a large serving spoon to scoop out the flesh. Place in a bowl and set aside. You can discard the skin.
- Remember to keep the charred bits. It adds a beautifully layered and deep flavor to the final dish.
Step 2 - Prepare mirepoix
- In a separate pot, bring to heat over medium-high heat and the remaining extra virgin olive oil.
- The oil should instantly boil, then add onions, carrots, and celery.
- This is the glorious trifecta of cooking - mirepoix. Perfect this to ensure every recipe is a hit.
- Stir continuously to make sure all the vegetables cook down evenly, about two to three minutes, or until tender.
Step 3 - Season mirepoix
- Begin adding the dry spices and herb starting with ground ginger, Kosher salt, white pepper, and sage. Continue to stir.
- Make sure none of the dry spices clump at the bottom. Look for an even coating on the vegetables.
Step 4 - Continue seasoning and cook base
- Prepare for enquiring noses to come sniffing around the corner for this step. Add turmeric, coriander, and cumin.
- Yes, you noticed the turmeric, didn't you? We take our addiction to spice pairing seriously; and the redolent flavor of butternut squash jeers at the limitation of just cinnamon and nutmeg. Even humble veggies long for the exotic.
Step 4 - Add liquids and simmer
- Add water and roasted squash to the pot. Bring to a medium boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add coconut milk. Ladle soup into a blender.
- We use a Vitamix, but any powerhouse blender will do. Allow it to rest for about a minute, then blend on high until smooth.
- Make sure not to boil the coconut milk because it will lose most of its flavor. Add after cooking.
Step 5 - Strain, garnish and serve
- Check for nappe consistency. Dip a spoon into the bisque, coating it completely. Run a finger on the backside of the spoon. You'll want to see a defined line, with the liquid in place.
- Nappe refers to the consistency of a sauce or liquid. The aim is to coat the back of a spoon indicating proper thickness.
- Over a mesh strainer, strain the bisque back into the pot or a clean bowl. Ladle servings into individual bowls. Top with a dollop of savory whipped cream or a quenelle.
- Time your serving accordingly. The cream will start to melt instantly, so don't let the bowls sit for more than a minute. Sprinkle with chives, serve, and await your adulation.
FAQ and Expert Tips
Bisque is pureed with cream and tends to be thicker than soup. Adding cream is traditionally a French style of cooking, along with straining the liquid to produce a silken and smooth texture.
The goal is a refined dish with ingredients completely integrated into a creamy extravaganza of flavor. Classic bisques usually contain shellfish. The modern term has shifted more toward the inclusion of cream and strained.
A very light protein is ideal, especially if you are shying away from carbs. Look for a lovely white fish like halibut, tilapia, or grouper. If you want a vegan or vegetarian main dish, go with an elegant vegetable terrine or a gorgeous ratatouille.
Yes, you can. It will keep for up to a month frozen.
Yes, instead of the whipped cream called for in the recipe.
No. While some soups can be easily blended AND heated in a Vitamix, this recipe calls for sautéing vegetables with spices first, before adding in the main ingredients. You can, however, add the sautéed vegetables to the blender, after cooking, along with the roasted squash and cream.
However, if you want to freeze any remaining raw butternut squash, wrap tightly with cling wrap. Make sure none of the flesh is exposed. Place in a hard plastic container. It should hold for about six weeks.
Side Dishes and Pairings
Because the bisque has a delicate flavor profile, you'll want to pair it with vegetable dishes that don't overwhelm. Try a ratatouille, vegetable terrine, or a lovely vegetable galette or tart.
Low Carb and Keto Pairings
Lighter proteins are ideal. This isn't time to throw anything on the grill. Aim for delicate halibut or grouper. Try butter-poached shrimp or sautéed bay scallops.
You're in a pinch, or it's around the holidays and the masses have raided the local grocers with nary a butter or nut in sight, much less a squash. What do you do? Enter the humble pumpkin to the rescue. Whether the exotic Japanese pumpkin or a sugar one, either will do a pinch. If you can find an acorn, even better. Prepare as indicated, keeping an eye on the tenderness. Check after 15 minutes. The flesh should be soft and "scoop-able".
- Medium Sauce Pot
- Medium Bowls
- Serving spoon
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- .5 teaspoon ground ginger
- .5 teaspoon ground white pepper
- .5 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- .5 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chopped sage
- .5 teaspoon cumin
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- .5 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Pre-heat oven to 400 °F.
- Using a serrated knife cut squash in half length wise.
- Using a spoon scoop out and discard seeds.
- Cut halved squash into quarters.
- Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil and evenly coat squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place butternut squash flesh side down and roast in oven for 35 minutes or until flesh is tender.
- After 35 minutes remove from oven and allow to cool at room temp.
- After squash has cooled scoop out flesh onto a medium-size bowl. Discard skin.
- Using a medium-size pot on medium-high heat add remaining oil, onions, carrots, celery and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add ginger, salt, white pepper, sage, turmeric, coriander, cumin and water.
- Add water and squash. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add coconut milk.
- Ladle into a blender.
- Allow to rest for 2 minutes before blending.
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Strain squash bisque through a strainer and set aside.
- Using a separate bowl add heavy cream, nutmeg and cinnamon and whisk until stiff peak.
- Spoon a dollop on top of bisque and garnish with chopped chives.
Try other mouthwatering vegetarian soups from Wanderspice
Was it creamy dreamy like we promised? And let us know if your MIL stopped giving you the stink eye. Comments below!
Oh, don't forget to spread the on Pinterest. Pin away!
Katherine is an award-winning lifestyle and culture journalist. Her work has been published in Latina, InStyle, and Money Magazine. She's traveled to five continents and is saving the best for last once her three kids are ready for overland travel.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University.