In theory, starting a meal with soup will tend to make you eat less during the rest of the meal.
Well, maybe it’s true for some people, some of the time, but not so at Thanksgiving, where no matter how much I snack or soup ahead of the Big Feast I still eat ridiculous amounts of food during the main course.
However, hope springs eternal and therefore in this house we start the Thanksgiving Eat-a-thon with this creamy winter squash bisque. It is not just for Thanksgiving though; this bisque is lovely for any fall meal, and you can use any of the hard-rind winter squash available in autumn and throughout the cold season.
Bonus recipe? What I call pepitas – roasted winter squash seeds that you can use to garnish your soup, or to snack on while you are making the meal or to give to your kid who is feeling a bit neglected by all this focus on food prep.
Butternut Squash Bisque
(makes four to six cups)
2 Tbs unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, diced (about 1 Cup)
1 onion diced (about 1 Cup)
2 leeks, carefully cleaned and diced (white part only)
2 lbs squash flesh (about 5 Cups)
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbs dry white wine
1 Tbs grated ginger
Salt, to taste
½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream or crème fraiche)
Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. When any bubbling subsides, add the garlic, celery, onion, and leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent (8-10 minutes). Add the squash and broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat wine to a simmer in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from heat, add ginger and cover. Steep 10 minutes, then strain the wine and discard the ginger.
Strain the solids from the soup, reserving liquid. Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the solids, adding enough of the reserved liquid to get a good consistency.
Add the wine to soup and season with salt and optional nutmeg. Grate additional ginger into the soup, if desired, using a fine grater. Serve, garnishing each bowl with a dollop of yogurt. You may also garnish with
Roasted Winter Squash Seeds (pepitas)
Handful winter squash seeds (however many you get from prepping the squash), rinsed, cleaned and dried
Enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat your amount of seeds (start with about a tsp poured into your palm)
Salt to taste
Heat oven to 275°F. Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Rub seeds with olive oil, lay in a single layer on baking pan, sprinkle with salt and bake for 15 minutes until seeds start to pop. Cool in a bowl and serve.