Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekend Cooking: Butternut Bisque

Spring begins in 25 days... at least according to the calendar. It's been a long, tough winter for much of the country and, if you're like me, a warm bowl of soup is the ultimate comfort food. This year I've been on a quest to find the perfect butternut squash soup. I've tried it curried and smoked, with added leeks, parsnips, and even sweet potatoes. There wasn't a bad recipe in the bunch, but it finally dawned on me that I was really seeking a more basic, old-fashioned taste... no coconut milk or cilantro, please.

I turned to my older cookbooks and found just what I was looking for in Heart of the Home by Susan Branch. Originally published in 1986, it's been on my shelf for well over twenty years. With Branch's signature style, illustrations, and fonts, I enjoy reading her books as much as cooking from them. If you're not familiar with Branch's work, check out her blog to see what I mean.

This Butternut Bisque uses carrots, onion, celery, and potatoes along with the butternut squash. The recipe does not use cream (who needs the added calories and fat?) and is seasoned with a little curry powder and a pinch of nutmeg and ginger. Simple and delicious!



The recipe was featured on Branch's blog a couple of years ago; the same image appears in the cookbook. I enjoy reading her blog on a regular basis. You might, too.





Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

54 comments:

  1. That looks quite delicious. Will you save me some?

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  2. Ohhh, I love her books and just got a new one (new to me) because of a recent Weekend Cooking post. This sounds perfect. I love modern flavors and ingredients, but you're right, sometimes old-fashioned comfort is just the ticket.

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    1. Beth F - I generally love more modern flavors, too, but seem to be craving old-fashioned comfort this winter.

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  3. Another Susan Branch fan! I have a few of her cookbooks, but honestly don't think I've tried very many of the recipes. I read them like books, enjoying all her little asides and tidbits about her life. But this recipe sounds delicious! I've never made butternut squash soup, but my daughter has and it's yummy. I guess I've always been a bit lazy about peeling the squash... and my husband doesn't care for it, but I think I'm going to give this a try. Maybe Trader Joe's has pre-peeled squash.

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    1. Les - My husband doesn't like this soup much either, but I make enough for several lunches and take some to my parents. Wegmans sells butternut squash peeled and cubed, so I'll bet Trader Joe's does, too. We just learned Trader Joe's is coming to town sometime this year...very excited!

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  4. I absolutely love butternut squash soup! I love that you've tried it so many ways this winter.

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    1. Sarah - I've been in an experimenting mood this winter. All the variations have been pretty good, but I'm glad I finally found a good, traditional recipe.

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  5. I love her too! She produces such beautiful books!

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    1. Jill - She sure does! Like Les, I spend just as much time reading them :)

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  6. I tried this recipe last Fall and loved it. It's nice that the potatoes thicken the soup and you don't need to add cream. Love her blog and books!

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    1. Jama - The potatoes made it very thick and creamy... delicious! I'm so glad to have stumbled upon her blog.

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  7. I'm interested in trying new things and this recipe sounds like just the thing. Now I need to check out the author's blog. Thanks!

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    1. Vasilly - The blog is just as beautiful as her cookbooks - enjoy!

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  8. Hi Joann,

    Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books today, I love 'meeting' new people.

    I have to say that I have never used Butternut Squash, although when I checked it out, it would appear that they are gaining in popularity here in the UK.

    I do love thick and creamy soups though and am not a fan of thin soups or consomme. Potato and leek soup is amongst my all time favourites, which together with some buttered crusty bread, is a meal in itself.

    Thanks for sharing your great recipe and here's to the arrival of Spring!

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne - Now you have me craving potato and leek soup! I usually make a soup every Monday or Tuesday during the winter and enjoy it for lunches all week. Sure hope spring gets here soon :)

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  9. This looks like the perfect lunch for a col day- and I like simple too!

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    1. Diane - It's surprisingly easy... peeling the squash is the most difficult part!

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  10. Yum, yum - I would have to hold myself back from adding cayenne pepper or chli though... Cheers from Carole's Chatter

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    1. Carole - One of the recipes I tried had cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. It had a wonderful flavor, but the traditional one I was looking for.

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  11. I pinned this to try. I'm not sure how Scott or Elle would feel about this one (they prefer their soups/stews chunky!) but it might be a great lunch for me. What kind of potato did you use?

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    1. Trish - I usually end up eating the bulk of this soup. Butternut squash is a not exactly a favorite of either my husband or Twin B. My parents both like it, so I take half to them. I use whatever potatoes I have on hand...it was russet last time.

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  12. JoAnn,
    I really, really want to make this version of my favorite. Thank you so much for posting it.
    Judith

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    1. You're welcome, Judith. Hope you like it as much as we do!

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  13. We're just getting ready to go into autumn down here so this will be great for our winter. There are "pumpkins" everywhere. We don't call it squash. What I would give for acorn squash though. No such thing in Australia.

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    1. Pam - I love acorn squash, too... wish I could send you a few :)

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  14. I love all kinds of butternut squash soup. What a lovely, basic recipe. I would love that cookbook. Such a pretty way to present recipes.

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    1. Janel - I own two or three of Branch's cookbooks. They are all a pleasure to look at and the recipes I've tried have been wonderful.

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  15. I have this cookbook! I love it....but not sure I've ever made anything from it. (Yikes) I'm going to go pull it and and take a look.
    such a good looking soup!

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  16. oh....and someone just gave me a squash! It's....destiny.

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    1. Debbie - Guess you have to make it now ;-)

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  17. I love Branch's artwork and had no idea she has a blog. I need to check it out because that recipe looks fantastic!

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    1. Kathy - Branch's blog was a lucky find for me... it's beautiful!

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  18. This sounds so yummy! I've never cooked with butternut squash at home (I'm a little intimidated by it) but I like your idea to buy it cubed at the store. I'm going to look for that :)

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    1. Amanda - I was intimidated by butternut squash for years, but have finally developed a method for peeling and cutting. The peeled and cut version in the supermarket is definitely a worthwhile short cut!

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  19. I have a recipe for a roasted butternut squash version which is delicious. Interested?

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  20. Last year was when I feel in love with butternut squash soup. I put my halved squash on a roasting pan then scoop out the flesh after it cooks. Love your recipe!

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    1. Tina - The smokey version I tried used roasted butternut squash... it was very good!

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  21. Squash soup is just so good! Man. I need to make some before spring hits (in earnest).

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    1. Cecelia - Hope you get a chance to try this recipe!

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  22. Pass me a bowl of that delicious soup!

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  23. This bisque looks delicious! I wasn't familiar with the cookbook and checked out Susan Branch's blog. I can't see myself making that lamb cake anytime soon, but it was a nice look-ahead to spring foods!

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    1. Laurie - I'm with you on the lamb cake, although I vaguely remember my aunt making something like that when I was young.

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  24. Yummy! Sometimes simple with good old fashioned ingredients tastes the best.

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    1. Darlene - That's definitely the cases with this recipe!

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  25. That looks and sounds YUMMY! Husband and I made a potato/leek/chorizo/chile (pasilla) soup this weekend and it was delicious. Ours was creamy without using cream too. We used the immersion blender to "cream" the potato soup and then added a little more potato in order to have some potato chunks.

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    1. Terri - I'd be lost without my immersion blender these days, too!

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  26. Thanks for the recipe, that looks delicious!

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