Thursday, October 13, 2011

Butternut Squash Bisque with Granny Smith Apple and Maple Bacon

Today is a gross, rainy day in Boston and I'm still sniffling from a cold I got two weeks ago. Yuck. Tis the season, I suppose. In the midst of my sickness and feeling very under the weather, I decided to cheer myself up by making this soup. One of my favorite things about fall is butternut squash, and I've been meaning to make a roasted squash soup for a while. Since I don't have a food processor at school yet (wink wink Mom and Dad...) this came out as more of a bisque, which I actually liked better. Pureeing the vegetables too much creates a runny consistency, so blend or puree on low to achieve a thicker base.

You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock and nixing the bacon. If you aren't a vegetarian though, I strongly recommend the maple bacon. The sweetness accompanied the green apple very nicely and it gave the soup a little extra texture. Also, if you plan to make a big batch and freeze it, hold off on adding the sour cream until the soup is reheated and ready to serve.

Butternut Squash Bisque with Granny Smith Apple and Maple Bacon
Serves: 6-8  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 1 hour, 30 minutes

1 butternut squash
1 granny smith apple (cored, peeled and chopped)
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
3 tbs butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbs low fat sour cream (plus more for garnish)
6 strips maple bacon

Cut the butternut squash in half, brush with olive oil, and roast on the top rack at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove and let cool.
Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook until the onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped granny smith apple and cook for another 3-4 minutes. While the apple is cooking, scoop the contents of the butternut squash out of its skin, removing the seeds in the process. Add squash to the saucepan and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well.
Remove the squash mixture from the saucepan and place into a food processor or blender. Mix on low until the mixture develops a bisque consistency, well blended but not smooth.
Place the squash mixture into a pot and add the chicken stock. Cook uncovered on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the soup is simmering, fry the maple bacon on the stove, then remove and drain the grease on paper towels. When cooled, chop the bacon for garnish.
Add sour cream into the soup and stir well. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 1 tablespoon of crumbled maple bacon.

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