If you peeked into my kitchen at this time of year (or any time over the next 6 months) you'd probably agree that I'm a bonafide "soup girl".
I usually have some kind of soup stashed away, as it makes a quick, healthy and delicious meal on the run.
And it might sound strange, but if there's leftover soup in the fridge, you'll even find me enjoying it for breakfast!
My husband, Scott? Not such much...
It's not that he doesn't like soup. He's just not as crazy about it, like I am. Well, at least not until now. I've served this Butternut Bisque with Brown Butter-Sage Pine Nuts several times over the past week, as it makes a fairly large batch. Every time, he's said, "This is really good soup!" or "Wow, this is so... good!" or something similar - almost as if he was shocked that soup could be that good.
It's a healthy soup, that you can feel good about serving to family and friends.
So, maybe he should be the one telling you how delicious this soup is. However, there are two things that I'm quite qualified to tell you (being The Café chief cook and bottle washer). First of all, it's a healthy soup, that you can feel good about serving to family and friends. The ingredients list is basically just veggies and chicken broth. There's a splash of olive oil for sautéing the veggies and scoop of Greek yogurt that adds a silky smooth, creaminess.
Second, this soup is super simple to put together. There's no peeling or dicing the butternut squash. It's just cut in half and popped in the oven, where the hard-as-a-rock squash is roasted till it's creamy soft and slightly caramelized. This takes anywhere from 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
The rest is just as easy; onions are roughly chopped and sautéed for 4-5 minutes along with a few cloves of garlic. Then comes a simmer in chicken broth while the squash is cooling and finally everything is swirled together in a blender with fresh herbs and a bit of Greek yogurt.
The result? Really good.
But you know what? I think what (literally) what takes it over the top is the Brown Butter Sage Pine Nut topping. It sounds a bit fancy and gourmet-ish, but it only takes 5 minutes to put together. If you're not familiar with brown butter, it's simply melted butter that is cooked a bit longer, till it turns golden and nutty and transforms anything it's combined with into crazy-delicious! I like to throw a little sage and sea salt in the butter, just as it's beginning to brown, then add pine nuts and stir until they're golden, crisp and scrumptious.
So, if you're in the mood for a really good soup, pick up a big butternut squash and a little packet of pine nuts next time you're at the market. You won't be disappointed!
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- For the soup:
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion diced
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian
- 2 medium bay leaf
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon fine chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon finely ground fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- For the pine nuts:
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons finely ground fresh sage
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- tiny sage sprigs and/or finely chopped rosemary and sage for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
Cut butternut squash* in half and scoop out seeds. Rub each half all over with olive oil and place, cut side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender and easily pierced with a small sharp knife. Set aside to cool.
While the squash is cooling, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-large pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, add onion and salute for 4-5 minutes or until onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
Add chicken broth and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce to a steady simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
Carefully scoop out roasted squash and add to the pot along with the Greek yogurt, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Using and immersion blender**, or a regular blender, blend until silky smooth.
For the pine nuts, melt butter in a small saute pan. Continue cooking until butter starts to foam and turn golden. Swirl pan occasionally to prevent burning. When butter starts to turn pale golden brown, add sage, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, add pine nuts and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until pine nuts turn golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels to cool.
Ladle hot soup into serving bowls. Top with a small dollop of Greek yogurt. Swirl yogurt slightly with a toothpick or the pointed end of a skewer and scatter with a small spoonful of the pine nuts. Garnish with small sage sprigs and more finely chopped herbs, if desired.
* Butternut squash are really hard to cut. To simplify cutting process, place squash in microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes before cutting. Squash will not cook but will soften slightly and will be much easier to cut.
** I love using an immersion blender. They're fairly inexpensive and make putting together a pot of soup, so much easier and quicker. This one from KitchenAid is a beauty and also works really well as a mini food processor.