One of the best and most successful dishes I have ever made was Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Bisque, courtesy of Epicurious and Bon Appetit. It ripped me, and subsequently many others, out of the halls of squash dislike because rather than relying on the over-used habits of squash with sweetness, this soup revels in rich and savory flavors. To this day, it's the best squash soup I've ever had, and it's one that can be made with absolute ease.
The first thing you will notice in this recipe is that it includes 2 whole heads of garlic. When I was first introduced to the dish through an old roommate who found it on Epicurious, we were convinced that this was a typo and that it meant two cloves. So we only used two cloves, and it was delicious. Since then, I've done everything in between, and as a garlic lover, I find 2 heads is a bit much for this dish, but find one or one and a half heads to be perfect. But really, if you don't like a lot of garlic, it'll still be delicious without it.
Also, this is an incredibly rich and creamy soup without cream. If you have whipping cream on hand, try it, but the soup really doesn't require it. Ignoring the milk, using oil instead of butter, and vegetable stock -- this bisque quickly becomes a tasty vegan soup.
You can also find chopped squash in the store, but it is incredibly cheaper to prepare it yourself -- and not too hard if you have a sharp knife. All I used was a $9 santoku that I sharpened right beforehand. Check out this Foodie Flicks for cutting tips.
The following is slightly adapted from Epicurious:
Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Bisque
garlic -- one half to two heads
3 cups chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 pounds of butternut squash cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups poultry or vegetable broth*
3 tbsp chopped fresh sage, or a few tsps of dried (to taste)
+butter and olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350, spray garlic with oil, wrap with foil, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, and then let it cool. (The original calls for cutting the head cross-wise, oiling, and roasting, but is not necessary.)
- Melt some butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until onions have softened (approx. 5 minutes).
- Add squash, broth, and 2 tbsp of sage, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat at simmer until squash is tender -- approximately 25 minutes.
- As this simmers, squeeze the garlic out of the skin and mash with a fork until smooth.
- Stir the garlic into the soup when squash is tender, and then puree until smooth.
- When serving, bring to a simmer, stir in the 1/2 cup of whipping cream if desired, and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the soup, drizzle with extra cream and sprinkle with remaining sage.