I have a love-hate relationship with squash - it's plentiful and cheap (my neighbors sell them out of their yard for 25 cents!) but it takes long time to cook, and many squash recipes are just too sweet for my taste. This soup avoids the sweetness trap, I think and m akes a satisfying winter meal. I recommend using butternut squash for this recipe, but you could certainly make it with another variety of your choosing.
Start by making the garlic infused roasted squash. This is a nice trick to add flavor to any squash that you are roasting to use in another recipe.
Garlic Infused Roasted Squash
1-2 medium to large butternut squash
1 TB olive oil
4-8 cloves garlic peeled
Preheat oven to 400F. Split the squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy material around them. For every half a squash you are roasting peel 2 -3 garlic cloves. Line a jelly roll pan or glass roasting dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil (optional, this is just to make your pans easier to clean) and rub with olive oil. Lay the squash cut side down on the roasting dish and put the garlic cloves inside the hollow that you made when you scraped out the seeds. Put them in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the flesh of the squash is soft al the way through. If you are using a very small variety of squash, like buttercup, this may take less than 45 minutes. when the squash is cooked, peel off the skin, mash the squash and save for later use or make this soup. YOu can mash the steamed garlic cloves into the squash, discard them, or spread them on some good bread with a little olive oil and enjoy them on the spot! I recommend mashing them into the squash for this soup.
Garlic Infused Squash Bisque
1/3 cup diced celeriac
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 medium onion, dice fine
roasted red pepper, chopped fairly fine
1 TB olive oil
4 sage leaves, minced I used fresh from my garden, but crumbled dried leaves are fine too
8-10 cups garlic infused mashed butternut squash (about 1 1/2 to 2 good sized butternut squash will give you this much)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 quart soup stock (I used chicken but vegetable will work fine as well)
1/2 cup heavy cream (or yogurt if you prefer)
water to thin the soup if it too thick for your preference
Saute the onion and red pepper in the olive oil for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is a litle yellow and soft. Meanwhile, put the diced celeriac and carrot in a small covered microwavable dish with about 1/2 cup water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly cooked. Put the carrot and celeriac, with the water in the dish and the onion, red pepper mixture into a large covered soup or stew pot and then add the squash and the stock and stir well. Add the finely chopped sage leaves and a lot of fresh ground black pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick (mine was) add water a cup at a time until it is the thickness you prefer. Cover and bring to the simmer for 30 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Add the cream, or if you prefer yogurt, stir again and then check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste. A dash of Lea and Perrins Worcertershire sauce could also be added at this point if you like! Serves about 6.
This soup is great served with a salad dressed with a tart vinaigrette to contrast with its creamy, earthy sweetness. It also makes great leftovers or a make ahead meal. Enjoy! DeeDee