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Butternut Squash Chipotle Bisque

(recipe, Matthew Barker)


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Introduction

While winter squash and pumpkins aren’t usually associated with Mexican food, they are actually found in many dishes across the country, especially in Oaxaca. The candied flesh is used in desserts, and its seeds are used in sauces called pipiáns. This recipe utilizes both the flesh of butternut squash, which is roasted until it caramelizes, and the seeds, which are toasted for a crunchy garnish. Serve this hearty bisque for dinner on a cool autumn night, or pour it into individual shot glasses for a savvy appetizer.

Ingredients

  1. 1 medium butternut squash
  2. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1½ cups chopped onion
  4. ½ cup chopped celery
  5. ½ cup chopped carrot
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 6 cups chicken broth
  8. Salt
  9. 3 tsp. minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  10. ½ cup Mexican crema or sour cream (see below)
  11. Freshly ground black pepper

Steps

  1. 1) Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. 2) Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, discarding as much stringy pulp as possible, put them in a sieve, and rinse them under cold running water. Set the seeds aside.
  3. 3) Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, grease a glass baking dish. Place the butternut squash in the dish, cut side down. Pierce the squash all over with a fork. Roast for 45 minutes, or until very tender. Let it cool.
  4. 4) Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté for 10 minutes, or until just tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Scoop the flesh of the butternut squash into the pot and stir. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
  5. 5) Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the reserved squash seeds and toast, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until crunchy. Season the seeds heavily with salt. Set them aside to cool.
  6. 6) Let the soup cool slightly, and then puree it in batches in a blender until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and keep it warm over medium-low heat. Mix in 2 teaspoons of the chipotle.
  7. 7) Stir the crema and the remaining 1 teaspoon chipotle together in a small bowl. Season the chipotle cream with salt and pepper.
  8. 8) Transfer the bisque to individual bowls, and top each serving with a dollop of chipotle cream and a sprinkling of toasted squash seeds.
  9. TIP Did you know that chipotle chile are dried smoked jalapeños? The heat of canned chipotles varies by brand, if they are too spicy for your taste buds. Use the adobo sauce that accompanies them instead.
CREMA- Mexican crema is Mexico’s version of crème fraîche, unpasteurized fresh cream thickened by naturally occurring bacteria. Crema is used as a topping in many dishes in Mexico, such as tostadas, enchiladas, chilaquiles, and moles. Because it is unpasteurized, you won’t find the real thing on this side of the border, but the pasteurized Mexican cremas in your grocery store are fine for drizzling over finished dishes, as is sour cream.
  1. Source: Marcela Valladolid