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Tropical Butternut Bisque

Rural Intelligence Food
On a snowy day, this soup reflects my locavore’s craving for the Caribbean — coconut with a touch of fiery ginger and cayenne pepper party with butternut’s sweet silky texture. The Berkshires and Hudson Valley produce fabulous butternut squash, and happily the local stuff is still around. Roasting it whole makes it effortless to peel. If you can, use local onions and milk (High Lawn, Ronnybrook or Hudson Valley Fresh) if you can.
—Amy Cotler, The Locavore Way

Rural Intelligence FoodTropical Butternut Bisque
Makes 4-6 servings
1 3-pound butternut squash
1 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 tablespoons coarsely grated ginger
1 tablespoon butter
About 3 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock or water
A pinch of allspice
Salt to taste
About 1 cup coconut milk
Cayenne pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Roast whole uncut squash on a baking sheet until it can be pierced easily with a fork, about 1 hour.

2. While the squash is cooking, in a skillet, cook onion and ginger in the butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are
tender but not brown.

3. When the butternut is cooked, slice in it half lengthwise, then spoon out the fibrous pulp and discard, reserving the seeds, if you wish to toast them later. Discard the skin. Puree the orange flesh in the food processor until smooth, then add to a medium soup pot.

4. For the garnish, remove about 1/3 cup of the puree to a glass measuring cup or microwave proof bowl. Mix it with 1/2 cup stock or
water, a generous pinch of allspice, and salt to taste, if needed.  Reserve.

5. Puree onion mixture in the processor a some of the milk, as needed, to make it very smooth. Add to the squash with 3/4 cup of the
coconut milk and as much of the milk as needed to reach the consistency of a thick bisque. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to
taste. (It should have a little kick.) Simmer, but do not boil, for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors.

6. To serve, heat butternut-allspice mixture in the microwave. Ladle the butternut squash into warm bowls. Drizzle the butternut-allspice
mixture and then about 1 teaspoon coconut milk over each bowl.

Variations: For a lighter and brighter soup, substitute half the milk with stock and eliminate the coconut milk.

Note: If you want to keep the seeds, they’re tasty toasted. Remove the seeds from the slimy stuff. Rinse and dry. Toast in a tiny bit of
oil in a skillet, over medium heat, shaking frequently, until crisp,  about 5 minutes. Salt to taste.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 01/03/10 at 03:59 PM • Permalink