I’m a fat, lazy bum. The amount of food I indulged in during the holidays was sinful. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy every single bit of it, but now I’m just…blah. I’m totally resolving to eat healthier this year…or, this week. Or, definitely, at least today. A vegetarian Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque sounds like it will atone for my dietary transgressions, no?
What is in Butternut Squash Bisque?
The inspiration for this recipe came from Veggietales. You know, the show where kid’s Bible stories are played out by talking produce? I seriously sat there once watching and thought, “I wonder what Jimmy and Jerry Gourd would taste like roasted with some sage.” Decided it was best to keep my curiosity to myself and I traipsed to the kitchen to avoid any more damage to my kid’s mental states.
Butternut squash should still be available in most parts of the States, and I use a gala apple in this version because it’s what I had on hand. You can definitely get away with using a Granny Smith or another type of tart apple. A nice mirepoix (celery, carrots, and onions), garlic and some sage are the base flavors of this full-bodied stew. A surprise element in the form of Jamaican curry powder will make an appearance later. Veggie stock keeps this vegetarian, although the inclusion of butter and cream prevents it from being vegan.
What’s the difference between a Butternut Bisque vs. a Soup vs. a Stew?
What’s the difference? Well, basically, the consistency of whatever you’re eating determines its name. This is a chunky soup which would’ve been considered a stew (or chowder) if we weren’t going to puree it. Since it has cream added at the end, it’s transformed to a bisque instead of remaining a soup.
Dispatch the Butternut Squash
Butternut squash has a pretty annoying-to-deal-with if you don’t know how to peel it properly. The trick, when using a vegetable peeler, is to not press too hard against the skin. Take off thin layers at a time. That, or use a chef’s knife. Peel the skin from the butternut squash and discard to get it out of the way.
After you’ve peeled the squash, cut off (and set aside, for now) the top “neck” part, because you don’t need to worry about seeds being up there. Cut the bottom, bulbous part, in half down the center and use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds inside. Discard the seeds.
From there, you can dice the butternut squash into one-inch cubes and set them to the side for later.
How do I make the Butternut Bisque flavorful?
Apple is the underlying flavor component in this bisque which makes it more flavorful. Without the apple, the butternut bisque tastes flat.
Take care of the apple in pretty much the same way. Peel and de-seed it before dicing it into half-inch cubes.
What herbs do I use to make Butternut Bisque taste good?
Sage is the best herb to use in this bisque. If you don’t like sage, I recommend rosemary or thyme.
To prep the sage, just chiffonade it and set this aside for stirring into the soup at the end.
Building the Flavor Base for the Butternut Bisque
A great soup, or bisque, begins with a flavorful base. Melt your oil and butter in a heavy-bottom pot or a dutch oven. We’re using two fats because we want two benefits: flavor from the butter, and a higher smoke point from the olive oil. One allows me to sauté the mirepoix at a higher temp, while the other allows everything to taste amazing.
Add the mirepoix, or the carrots, celery, and onions. Go ahead and throw in the salt, pepper, and garlic too. Sweat the vegetables for seven minutes, stirring frequently, until they are glossy and soft.
Now for the surprise flavor element. Add a half-tablespoon of Jamaican curry powder. Not only does this added ingredient provide a smooth warmth to the butternut bisque, it gives it an insanely beautiful color, too! You can find it at most Asian or Caribbean stores, or at the god of the internet- Amazon.
Now add the apples.
Follow them with the cubed butternut squash and stir it all to combine. At this point, your pot is probably too full to be able to stir it all well. That’s okay, because now you need to pour in the vegetable stock, and everything will simmer and cook evenly.
Give things a stir as best you can, and bring the soup up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then allow the soup to simmer, covered, for thirty minutes.
Finish the Butternut Bisque
To finish our bisque, add a generous pinch of brown sugar to bridge the gap between the smooth butternut flavors and the other surprise ingredient we’re about to add.
What’s the best way to puree my bisque?
An immersion blender is not only the best way to puree your butternut bisque, it’s also the safest way to do so. Without the immersion blender, you run the risk of burning yourself during the transfer from pot to blender.
After you add the brown sugar, use the immersion blender to blend the bisque until smooth. Or, you can carefully transfer the soup to a regular blender, and blend it in batches. Be sure to vent the blender’s lid to prevent an explosion.
One of the last ingredients we need to add is some heavy cream. Always add cream at the end, and off the heat. You don’t want it to curdle because you added it to a boiling soup.
Fold in that sage we chiffonaded earlier. Adding the fresh herbs at the end ensures they retain a bit of their color and all of their flavor.
And my final surprise ingredient- freshly squeezed lemon juice! Just use a citrus juicer to juice half a lemon and add the juice straight to the bisque. It livens up the flavors of the bisque so much!
Garnish and Serve your Butternut Bisque
Garnish your bowl of Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with some sour cream and roasted pepitas.
How do I store Butternut Bisque?
Any leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you’d rather freeze the butternut bisque, do so after it’s cooled completely. Transfer the bisque to a freezer-safe storage container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw the soup under refrigeration and reheat until warmed through.
This looks like a pretty dope start to my day of healthy eating, no? I think I’m going to be successful. Just in case, go ahead and pin this to share with your friends. If I mess up you can call me on it in a few weeks, ha ha ha!
Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
- 6 qt dutch oven
- immersion blender (optional)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup (2 medium) carrots diced
- 3/4 cup (2 stalks) celery stalks diced
- 1 cup (1 medium) white onion diced
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 cup (1 large) apple peeled and diced
- 6 cups (1 large) butternut squash peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 quarts vegetable stock (or chicken stock for non-vegetarian)
- 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 6 sage leaves chiffonade
- sour cream optional
- roasted pepitas optional
- Melt the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom pot or a dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and garlic. Sweat the vegetables for 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are glossy and soft.
- Add the curry powder, apples, and the butternut squash and stir to combine.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, stir as best you can, and bring the soup up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then allow the soup to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Once the soup is done simmering, turn off the stove, and add the brown sugar. Blend the soup smooth with an immersion blender, or you can carefully transfer the soup to a regular blender, and blend it in batches. Be sure to vent the blender's lid to prevent an explosion.
- Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the heavy cream, lemon juice and the sage. Adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Garnish your bowl of Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with some sour cream and roasted pepitas.
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Here are some of my other favorite soups: