If I were to
tell you I miss New England winters, you would think I had completely lost my
mind, or you would know I was lying.
cold, dark, relentless winters were the biggest reason Mark and I moved to the
weeks - nay, months! - of snow, sleet, wind and bone-chilling rains weren't my
thing any longer. (True, there was a time I found it invigorating. What was I
I do miss
our friends every day. I also miss some very specific things: the sweet, tender
lobsters that were available fresh from the sea, and the intoxicating fragrance
of the lilacs hanging in the soft air of late May. Of course, those weren't
part of winter were they?
miss the need for comfort food. Here, in Tucson, the season for rich soups,
stews and slow-roasted meats lasts but a few weeks. Sometimes, it is only a few
days here and there.
It is said
that President Nixon turned on his air-conditioning even in summer so he could
light a fire in the fireplace (while listening to Mantovani, of course); I
haven't gotten that needy yet, but it has crossed my mind.
spending most of my life in areas that were just this side of arctic, I have
amassed quite the collection of comfort food recipes, many of which came from
While at the
farmers market last weekend, under a clear blue sky with temperatures hovering
around 70°F (21°C), I saw a butternut squash and had a pang of nostalgia for my
mother's Autumn Harvest Bisque.
much knew the ingredient list by heart - some things you just don't forget. A
few ingredients weren't available, and I wasn't in the mood to run from one
grocer to another. I got what I could, and decided to make the recipe my own.
version is much less caloric than my mother's, and oddly creamier without using
cream (as she did). Yes, there is still a decent amount of butter involved in a
large batch, but that comes to only about a half tablespoon per serving.
All in all,
this is a very healthy soup - and a hearty one. And comforting. I think Mom
Squash and Apple Bisque
butternut squash – about 1 1/2 pounds
tablespoons butter, divided
white onion, chopped
white and light green parts, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 large tart
cooking apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
peeled and coarsely chopped
turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
low-sodium chicken stock
fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
leaves, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
Chinese five spice powder
lowfat milk (I used 1%)
to 400°F (200°C).
in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds and stringy parts. Line a
cookie sheet with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Place the squash
halves, cut side down, onto the foil. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until squash is
very tender when pierced with a fork or knifepoint. Let cool.
tablespoons of the butter in a large soup kettle over medium heat. Add chopped
onions and sliced leeks, and cook for 5-10 minutes until onions are clear and
soft. Increase heat to medium-high, and add apples, carrots and turnip. Sauté
for a minute or two, then add broth. Scoop out the flesh from the squash and
add it to the kettle. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer
the soup for 30 minutes.
remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Add the rosemary, sage,
nutmeg and five spice powder; cook for 1 minute or so, or until fragrant. Add
the flour, and stir. Let cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw taste of the
flour. Add the milk and whisk to incorporate. Add this mixture to the soup
kettle, season well with salt and pepper, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until
thickened. Let cool 15 minutes.
in four batches in a blender; pour into a clean pot and reheat. Serve with a
crusty bread and salad.
Labels: apple, butternut squash, comfort food, cream soup, soup