|Butternut Bisque with special toppings|
We had a dear, sweet neighbor in Spain who was always sharing food with us. Gazpacho, snails, fried sardines, sweets and stews were what she most often shared. I would try to return one of her bowls, and she would ladle something else into it for me to bring back. Justin joked that she always had to have the last word when it came to food. Sometimes I shared foods I made with her, but eventually I gave up. My American cooking just didn't compare!
One time she shared a salmorejo soup. Salmorejo is a cold tomato soup that is similar to gazpacho but has bread blended in to thicken it up. It is served with delicious toppings such as cured ham, hard boiled egg and extra virgin olive oil.
When I made this butternut bisque which is, admittedly, nothing like salmorejo, I topped it with pork, pesto and yogurt and was reminded of the addictive salmorejo my neighbor had made. Topping a soup makes it special. Customized just how you like it.
You can change the toppings for this butternut bisque based on your preference, but I love sour cream or yogurt, bacon or leftover pork, pesto (I used cilantro pesto), hard boiled egg, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and coarse ground pepper. Other good choices could include nuts, seeds or cinnamon.
The soup itself is delightful on its own, if you choose not to top it. It is a little sweet, which kids like (and grown-ups too). I like to use homemade chicken broth to really get some good nutrients in there. However you make it, this soup is sure to please during these cold months.
From Simply in Season
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups butternut squash (or other winter squash) peeled, seeded and cut into 1.5 inch cubes
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper
toppings: plain yogurt, pork or bacon, hard boiled eggs, pesto, olive oil
1. Saute onion and carrots in butter over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in butternut squash and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until squash can easily be pierced with a fork.
3. Add maple syrup and milk.
4. Turn off heat and, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
5. Ladle into bowls, adding desired toppings.