by Paula Marcoux
Curried Winter Squash Bisque
In their classic cookbook Giving Thanks, food historians Kathleen Curtin and Sandra Oliver reached all the way back to the 1970s for inspiration for this versatile soup. It’s great all winter long with any of our favorite storage cucurbits, like sugar pumpkin or butternut or blue Hubbard squash. For a holiday starter, dress it up with fancy garnishes (toasted croutons, garam masala-spiked crème fraîche, caramelized onion?) or just enjoy as is for an any day family supper.
• 2 tablespoons butter or neutral oil
• 1 cup diced onion or leek
• 1 cup chopped celery, including leaves
• 1 cup peeled and chopped carrot
• 2 minced garlic cloves
• 4 cups (1 pound) seeded, peeled, chunked squash or pumpkin
• 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
• 3/4 cup canned tomatoes (with juice) or frozen cherry tomatoes
• 4 cups stock of your choice or water
• 2 bay leaves
• kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup heavy cream or thick coconut milk
• 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Put the butter or oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion or leek, carrot, and celery and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, squash or pumpkin, and curry powder, and fry for another few minutes, stirring. Add the tomatoes, stock or water, bay leaves, and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to keep the soup at a simmer until the squash or pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.
Let the soup cool if you want to make it easier to handle. Discard the bay leaves, and purée the soup in batches in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add cream or coconut milk and reheat. Adjust seasonings, and serve garnished with cilantro.
Serves 6 to 8.