There has been a lot of pumpkin inspiration on social media lately being that it’s October, so we felt compelled to join the pumpkin dish-inspired festivities with this pumpkin butternut squash bisque with Chef Kevin Daniel and friends.

This dish is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.  It’s also paleo and dairy-free without the 5-spice mascarpone we dolloped on our final plated pictures.  It’s optional to use for the dish.

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Ingredients:

*note: we made a lot because we were serving 6 people.  This made enough for 12 servings, so you can scale down the dish accordingly for your needs or have plenty of tasty leftovers!

Main Bisque:

12 lbs Organic Butternut Squash

1 large white onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 small thai chiles, chopped fine

3 tablespoons ghee (you can use coconut oil if vegan)

2 boxes veggie stock

3 tablespoons fresh ginger, sliced

1/2 cup cream (or coconut milk)

sea salt & pepper, pinch (for butternut squash when baking)

olive oil, drizzle (for butternut squash when baking)

5-Spice Mascarpone:

8 oz. container mascarpone

2 tablespoon cream

1 tablespoon raw honey

note: ingredients below you can replace with store bought 5-spice

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon clove

1 tablespoon star anise

1 tablespoon fennel seed

1 tablespoon peppercorns

Spice Sachet for Bisque base (pictured below):

2 lemon grass stocks, crushed (you can literally just smack on edge of kitchen counter)

4 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole peppercorns

handful of thyme stems/leaves (from garden)

1 medium size ginger root, crushed (cut it in thirds or quartered, and crush- see picture below)

cheese cloth for sachet

 

Directions (with Chef Kevin insight):

We used butternut squash as the base, pumpkin’s older brother.  Pumpkin and butternut are part of the same squash family.  Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably.  And thus, we used the ingredients interchangeably for this recipe.  You can use the same amount of either ingredient for this dish.

In general, this bisque can be made a ton of different ways.  There is no traditional way of making this dish, you can interpret it however you want.  Most commonly used is peeled butternut squash cooked down with aromatics, stock, and blended with cream.  We chose to go with an Asian themed spiced version, giving it more dynamic and more layers of flavor.

First thing’s first:  Get the oven going at 400 degrees.  Slice your butternut squash in half, take the seeds out, season with salt and pepper and a little drizzle of oil on the flesh side, and lay face down on a cookie sheet.  Face down, skin side up is important because it will give the butternut flesh a nice caramelized flavor and texture when the natural sugars in the butternut cook.  Top the skin off with some more olive oil and pop into the oven.

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The butternut will roast for 40-45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife.

Meanwhile, on low-medium heat, warm your vegetable stock up on the stove and insert your sachet of herbs.  We did a sachet using cheese cloth and added the crushed ginger, lemon grass, bay leaves, black peppercorns and thyme.  Make sure to crush the ingredients really well so all of the juices and oils infuse with the vegetable stock.

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Tie the sachet off, place in stock, and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes on low, an hour if you’ve got it.

While the vegetable stock is simmering with the sachet and the butternut is still roasting, in a soup pot add three tablespoons of ghee (or coconut oil if vegan), one whole sliced onion, four garlic cloves sliced, three tablespoons peeled and sliced ginger, and your four small Thai chilies finely chopped.

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Sweat on low heat until translucent and soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Okay, so now you’ve got your butternut almost done roasting, your vegg stock simmering with the sachet, and your soup pot cooking.  Time to make your 5-spice mascarpone.

Simply take two cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon clove, 1 tablespoon star anise, 1 tablespoon fennel seed, and 1 tablespoon peppercorns,  and toast all five spices off separately on medium-low heat until they just start to smoke.  Then add to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine.  If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can use a coffee grinder.  Of course, you can also buy organic 5-spice as powder at the store, but flavor-wise, not the same as fresh ground.

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Next take your mascarpone and add to a bowl.  Whip it with 2 tbsp of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of raw honey.  Add 5-spice to taste, about 1-2 tbsp depending how strong you want it.

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By this time, your butternut should be coming out of the oven, your vegg stock done simmering, and your soup pot vegg soft and translucent.

Take the sachet out of the vegetable stock and add the stock to the soup pot.  Take the butternut and remove all the flesh from the skins and place into the soup pot.  Pull off heat, add 1/2 cup cream, or to keep your bisque itself paleo-friendly and dairy-free, you can use a 1/2 cup of coconut milk.

Blend in blender or with hand blender.

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After blended, we added back to the pot and seasoned with sea salt to taste.

We served ours in a carved out pumpkin bowl and garnished with the homemade 5-spice mascarpone and fresh herbs such as fresh organic Italian parsley and purple basil flowers, which we had accessible in the garden.  We also finished it with some drops of a good orange infused olive oil, but you can use any good quality organic olive oil.

Important Tips for Success from 3-Star Michelin Guide Chef Kevin Daniel:

  • Always roast the butternut squash to concentrate the sugars and flavor
  • Toast all spices so you don’t get a raw spice flavor
  • Season with sea salt liberally, it’ll need it
  • Whip the mascarpone and cream while it’s cold to produce a better volume
  • If you can cook it a day ahead of time from when you want to serve it, do it.  This will give the ingredients a much more intense flavor once the bisque has had a good 24 hrs to concentrate

Servings:  12 pumpkin bowls full (about 3 cups in each)

Total Ingredient Cost Breakdown: 

Organic Butternut Squash – $1.69/lb x 12 lbs = $20.28

Organic Pumpkin – $1.99/lb x 13 lbs = $25.87

(1) Organic Onion, chopped -$1.99/lb x 0.9 lbs = $1.79

(2) Organic Ginger Root – $6.99/lb x 0.45 lbs = $3.15

(1) Organic Garlic bulb, chopped – $6.99/lb x 0.13 lb = $0.91

(4) Organic Small Thai Chiles – From the garden

(2) Boxes Organic Veggie Stock – 2 for $6

8 oz. Organic Mascarpone – $3.99

Organic Cream – $3.99

Lemon grass stocks – $2

Homemade 5-Spice, whole organic spices – From the pantry (add about $4 to total if you buy pre-made 5-spice)

Italian parsley and Purple Basil Flower garnish – From the garden

Total Cost:  $67.98

Serving:  We served to 6.  Makes 12 very large servings- each pumpkin bowl we used was about 3 cups of bisque in each

Options:  We were slightly ambitious with the hollowed out pumpkins as bowls, so total cost is $5.67/person.  However you can reduce this cost by serving in a normal bowl, as well as reduce the serving size.  We were pretty stuffed after eating a full pumpkin bowl – the bisque is rich.  Without the $25.87 pumpkin bowl cost, the total cost is $42.11 / $3.51 per person.  You can easily reduce the portion size and the total cost per person will be well below $3.  This was also served to 6 and made enough for 12, so making half of the recipe can easily feed a family of 4 an amazing organic homemade soup and cost even less, and/or have plenty of leftovers.

Buon Appetito!

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