butternut squash and red potato bisque
This was an unexpectedly spectacular outcome of a big cooked vegan experiment last night in an effort to use up some of the vegetables I got from my Marshall’s Fenway Farm Stand CSA in the last week or so. It was also the result of a little competition I was having with my mother that she has no idea I was conducting…!
I have a lot of childhood memories of mum and I in the kitchen, raising yeast in loaves of bread under the bathroom heater, learning how to cut carrots ‘Chinese’ style and making crazy colored icing for birthday cakes. One of my most favorite though is helping make the pumpkin soup she used to cook in her orange 1970’s pot that looks quite like the new Le Creuset french ovens. All my life I have said that I want her to leave me that pot in her will but she had to get rid of it recently after a lot of wear and tear. Anyways, the competition was to try and make a soup to rival the pumpkin soup she used to make, and low and behold, I think I did it! I also (even more secretly) promised myself that if I started making yummy soups I could treat myself to the Le Creuset that I was going to buy just before I went raw*, and that I need now I won’t be getting mums… I need to start saving my $$ :)
Warning, warning: this soup is made from scratch so takes a little while but makes a lot so I think it’s totally worth it!
- 2 butternut squash, peel, remove seeds and dice (or if you have a high speed blender, you can use the seeds too)
- 6 red potatoes, quartered with skin on (other small potatoes work too but red ones have a special somethin’-somethin’)
- 3 small red onions
- 2 small carrots
- 1 stalk celery
- Dried thyme and rosemary and oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Black pepper
- Herbamare (you can get it in supermarkets), or sea salt
- Dark Muscavado sugar – I never use sugar in anything but my boyfriend suggested I try adding it and it’s amazing so if you’re reluctant you could leave it out or try it in a small batch
- 1/4 serve of raw vegan ‘sour cream‘, optional as this contains nuts
- Olive oil
- Paprika to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°
- Put butternut squash, potatoes and two red onions cut in half in pot that can go from oven to stove top (i.e. my Le Creuset or something similar), cover lightly with olive oil, season with herbs and bake for about 30 minutes or until soft
- Meanwhile, bring 5 cups of water to the boil in large pot for the stock (add more water if you want left over stock – it lasts in the fridge for a few days… I still need to work out what to do with mine though!)
- Heat a little olive oil in saucepan over moderate heat
- Slice the other red onion and cut carrots and celery – add to saucepan and cook with rosemary, bay leaf and a splash of herbs until onion is translucent
- Add onion, carrots and celery etc. to boiling water and cook for approx 30 minutes – water will turn to a rich color and consistency. Strain through fine mesh strainer and remember to keep the liquid and turf the vegetables not the other way around!
- Baked vegetables and stock should finish about the same time…
This part gets a little tricky to explain so I’m going to say what I did in my Blendtec blender – you could also use a food processor but don’t use the squash seeds…
- I take the vegetables out of the oven and fill the pot with stock until almost to the same level as the vegetables
- I then blend approx 3 cups baked vegetables/stock in blender until smooth – the great thing about the Blendtec is that there is venting in the lid so it won’t pop off – if you don’t have this leave some room for the hot air to escape of you’ll have a mess! You can also let the vegetables and stock cool down before doing this if you make it in advance of wanting to eat it…
- Put the batches of blended soup in another pot as you go – when it’s empty, I like to rinse my Le Cruset and put the soup back in and turn on low heat.
- Prepare the sour cream in blender, then add a cup or two of soup, a tablespoon of sugar and blend – add back to main pot and stir in
- Add Herbamare (salt) and pepper to taste, and last night when I made it, I added some paprika for a bit of depth and I love it!
This it makes a lot of soup – would probably serve 8-12 people a good size starter or 6 people a large meal… although having said that I just ate two bowls, ooops :)
- Preferably reheat in saucepan to serve warm, and add a swirl of vegan sour cream and cracked pepper for presentation
It really is delicious – rich and creamy and just a little sweet – definitely start with a small amount of sugar and add more, you don’t want to overdo it.
Now I just need to fly mum over to Boston to do the taste test. Let me know if you think I’m in with a chance!
Guide: vegan | whole food, plant based | gluten-free | nut-free option provided| sugar-free | soy-free
* UPDATE: I found a super cheap Le Creuset at the outlets – worth looking for, I got a cream one and love it!