Squash “Bisque”


I made this squash “bisque” with Indian spices for a dinner party recently and it turned out quite well. I put bisque in quotes because traditionally a bisque has shellfish or shellfish stock in it and this doesn’t. I was planning to deploy dried shrimp for that purpose but it turned out we were out. The Korean corner of the pantry, however, had some dried anchovies and so I used that instead. It came out very well. The picture here has mussels in it because when I heated up the leftovers a few days later, I brought it to a boil and threw in a pound of mussels. That made it even better. But it’s pretty good without the mussels (and would be very good with shrimp too) and, indeed, the recipe can be very easily adapted to make it vegetarian or even vegan (see below). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 small buttercup squash or similar, about 1-1.25 pounds
  • The white part of one leek, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 tblspn fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tblspn fresh turmeric root, grated
  • The following lightly toasted and ground together: 1 tblspn cumin seeds, 1/2 tspn coriander seeds, 1 inch stick cinnamon, 1-2 dried red chillies
  • 3 tblspns dried anchovies or shrimp
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • Salt
  • Ghee/oil
  • 1 lb mussels (optional)

Preparation: 

  1. Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, smear with some ghee or oil and pop in an oven set to 450ºf. Roast for 45-50 minutes. After it has cooled, scoop the flesh out.
  2. In a medium saucepan heat some oil and add the leeks. Saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the grated ginger and turmeric root and saute for a few more minutes till the fragrance of the ginger changes.
  4. Add the ground spices, anchovies/shrimp and salt and saute for 30-45 seconds.
  5. Add the roasted squash, mash in fully and mix.
  6. Add the stock, mix, bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes.
  7. Using a stick blender, puree thoroughly. Or take off the heat, let cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender.
  8. Add the half and half, mix in and simmer for another few minutes.
  9. Taste and adjust for salt and serve (if not using mussels). Or:
  10. If using mussels, return the soup to a boil, throw the mussels in, reduce the heat and cover the pan till the shells have all opened. Mix in fully and serve.

Notes:

  1. Leave out the seafood and use vegetable or mushroom stock and it’s a very good vegetarian soup (if less intensely flavoured). Leave out the ghee and half and half or substitute coconut milk for the half and half and it’s vegan.
  2. Especially if substituting coconut milk for the half and half, you might add a sprig of curry leaves at the very end.
  3. Buttercup is a great squash, and becomes very sweet when roasted. If using butternut you might need to add a pinch of sugar at the end.

2 thoughts on “Squash “Bisque”

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