Charlie Abowd: Butternut squash bisque recipe is perfect for fall
October 16, 2013
Fall harvests yield heartier produce, and the season is the perfect time to warm things up in the kitchen, which can double as a heating device for the home. It is time to get cozy.
Café at Adele's has been serving butternut squash bisque for years. This has become a favorite, with folks calling to ask which days it will be featured.
Interestingly enough, the idea for this recipe was born out of our trip to The James Beard House in New York City in 2005. The entire restaurant crew spent 10 delightful days fulfilling the dream and being honored to cook at this legendary place.
Our Butternut Squash Bisque was one of our featured courses, and all the organic ingredients required were shipped from Carson City to the Big Apple. While our farmer's markets are now closed, check Raley's, Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for organic butternut squash. You can't beat the flavor.
The recipe also will be featured in one of six courses at the fourth annual Celebrity Chef and Harvest Dinner, taking place Nov. 11 at Café at Adele's, except that I will be substituting heirloom sugar pumpkins grown at The Greenhouse, for which the event is a benefit. Chef Mark Estee, owner of Campo, Reno, joins me in the kitchen again this year, in part because we had so much fun together last year and because he brings so much talent and skill to the table.
All courses will be locally sourced and grown, and organic. The Greenhouse will provide an array of produce, Hungry Mother Organics is providing tilapia, our pork comes from Holley Family Farms and the garlic and potatoes come from Glorious Garlic Farm. Alpen Sierra Coffee Co. provides the coffee. For details, visit http://www.carsoncitygreenhouse.org or find them on Facebook. Tickets cost $200 each and can be purchased at the restaurant or by calling Karen Abowd at 775-232-8626.
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I suggest pairing the butternut squash bisque with Dunstan Winery's chardonnay, made from grapes grown at Durell Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley.
Besides it being a perfect companion for the bisque, there is another reason to support Dunstan Winery.
The winery is owned by wild-horse advocate and vintner Ellie Phipps-Price, who in 2010 purchased 170 wild mustangs at an auction in Fallon and gave them a home at her Montgomery Creek Ranch near Stonyford, Calif. She has taken some of the Deer Run herd as well and works diligently to advance the cause of protecting our wild horses. We love her wines and carry them at Café at Adele's. You can also find them and more information about Phipps-Price's work with our wild horses at http://www.dunstanwines.com. Let's return the love and support her winery.
As always, gather friends and family and enjoy!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
2 butternut squash, about 2.5 to 3 pounds each
¼ cup brown sugar
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sweet yellow onion, diced
½ cup carrot, diced
½ cup celery root, diced
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
½ cup dry or cocktail sherry wine
2 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt to taste
The first step in preparing this soup is to bake the squash to a soft texture.
Split the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Wash thoroughly; place in a baking pan flesh-side down after rubbing the halves with some brown sugar and fresh ground pepper. No salt at this time, please.
Place about half a cup of water in the pan and cover tightly with foil. Bake in a preheated, 375-degree oven for at least an hour and a half. Check for doneness.
The flesh must be soft enough to scoop out of the skin. If it is not done enough, bake longer.
Don't panic; each oven and squash is different and the baking time can take as long as two and a half hours.
You can bake the squash the day before preparing the soup. After you finish baking, let the squash set and cool (about one hour) enough so that you can handle them easily without burning yourself. Scoop the meat and set aside.
To make the soup, place butter in a 10-quart soup pot along with onion, carrot, celery and celery root. Lightly sauté over medium-high heat. Do not scorch.
Pour in the maple syrup, heavy cream, orange juice and wine. Bring to a boil and add the squash. Simmer for one hour on low heat at a lightly rolling boil. Turn off heat and let set for 20 minutes.
Add the white pepper and nutmeg. Place a hand blender in the pot and blend thoroughly. This will take a minimum of 10 minutes.
At the end of the process, stir with spoon to make sure everything has been blended together. Taste and let your own taste buds guide you as to whether you need to add more maple syrup, white pepper or nutmeg. You may or may not need salt.
This soup is delicious topped with a dollop of yogurt that has been whisked with a touch of maple syrup and roasted pecans.
Chef Charlie Abowd co-owns Café at Adele's with his wife, Karen. Adele's is at 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City. For more information or to make reservations, call 775-882-3353 or go to adelesrestaurantandlounge.com.