We were on our way to a short hike when we passed the biggest farmers market near us that we've been talking about visiting for the longest time. Finally, we went and it was great! There was so much local produce and we stumbled on honeynut squash which we weren't familiar with. So, what better way to familiarize ourselves with it than to cook with it?
This bisque encompasses everything that is the fall season and could probably be renamed the Elixir of Autumn. Once you try it once, you will be wanting it to be around forever. With apples, pumpkin, squash and fall spices, it's the epitome of fall flavors.
We guarantee this will become your new favorite soup. It's creamy, sweet and comfort at its best. When you're cooking it, the aromas will fill your home and cozy it up!
What is a bisque?
A bisque, traditionally speaking, is a French soup that consists of a flavored broth, thickened by a puree or rice, and finished with cream to give it a smooth mouth feel. While we don’t use crustacean shells or rice to thicken the soup, like the traditional technique, the soup is pureed, with cream, and has a smooth velvety texture that leaves your palate crisp and clean.
What is a Honeynut Squash?
The short answer is that a honeynut squash is basically a concentrated version of a butternut squash. It literally looks like a mini butternut squash but what makes it unique is that it's much sweeter in flavor (about 10x sweeter). However, you can pretty much treat it like a sweeter butternut squash when using it in recipes.
If you want a bit more of an explanation, the origin of the honeynut squash is the stuff of culinary legends. In 2009, Chef Dan Barber invited a group of farmers to his restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns and, upon giving them a tour of the kitchen and grounds, asked one of the farmers, Michael Mazourek, if he could make a butternut squash “taste good.” Mazourek, who was a professor in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell, accepted the challenge, and, after diving into both his lab and the fields, was able to crossbreed two squashes to create honeynut, a squash that was said to be 10 times stronger in sweetness and flavor that a typical butternut squash.
Ingredients for Spiced Pumpkin and Honeynut Squash Bisque
The other best part about this easy pumpkin and honeynut bisque? You only need a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand. The only two ingredients that my require a bit of searching is the pumpkin and honeynut squash!
Honeynut Squash: Our local produce star. If you don't have honeynut squash, you can use regular butternut squash.
Pumpkin: For this recipe, you want to use a small roasting pumpkin that is about 3-4 pounds. While you can certainly peel/see/cut the pumpkin like the squash, we found that it is easier to work with after roasting it. If you don’t have access to a fresh pumpkin, you can use 2 cups of pumpkin puree but if you do, add that right before you add the liquid.
Apples: I always use tart granny-smith apples for this soup to add a tart balance and depth to the soup. If you chose to use a sweeter apple you may just need to cut down on the amount of sugar you use.
Fall Spices: Pumpkin pie spice, which consists of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, is used to give hints of balanced fall flavors and aromas. The pumpkin pie spice is nice because it complements the pumpkin and plays on everyone's memories of pumpkin pie and pumpkin spiced lattes. We add an additional amount of cinnamon to help the soup’s spice without throwing the soup's flavor out of balance.
Heavy Cream: Using heavy cream makes the soup smooth and creamy on the palate. If you don’t want to use heavy cream, you can use half-and-half or use water or stock instead, but don’t try to make the soup with milk because it will separate and curdle when cooked.
Brown Sugar: I like to use brown sugar because of the added depth the molasses brings. When fine-tuning the seasoning of the soup at the end, maple syrup is a great option because of its natural liquid state and complex sweetness.
Tips for Making the BEST Pumpkin and Honeynut Squash Bisque
Toasting the Spices: After you add the spices to the vegetables, make sure you turn the temperature down to low and continue to cook the vegetables lightly to toast the spices. Toasting the spices unlocks a more intense flavor, similar to toasting nuts.
Pureeing: When pureeing the soup after everything is cooked, add water to the soup to make sure that the whole mixture can puree. If the mixture is too thick, the blender won’t spin freely and you may end up with random chunks in the soup. If the blender sounds like it is working too hard or not spinning the soup freely, slowly add water until it doesn’t. Also, don’t overload the blender.
Seasoning: This is the part that will separate your soup from good to great. After pureeing all the soup, taste a bit of it and adjust the seasoning to your likings. If it seems like the soup is missing something, it probably is. If you want to see how ingredients affect the overall flavor of the soup but are afraid of messing it up, try taking a small amount of the soup, putting it into a separate bowl, and adding small amounts of ingredients to adjust the flavor. The best ingredients to use to adjust the flavor is salt for flavor; lemon juice for cutting through the richness; and brown sugar or even maple syrup for sweetness.
We absolutely LOVE this soup but totally get that you may not be able to find honeynut squash near you or that you'd like a vegan or dairy-free option. Here are some substitutions you could make!
Honeynut Squash Bisque: If you want to make this soup using only Honeynut Squash and not pumpkin, simply replace the pumpkin with another 2-3 honeynut squash (depending on the size, approximately 2 additional cups).
Butternut Squash Bisque: If you can't find any honeynut squash, or simply prefer butternut squash, you can replace the honeynut squash with 2 whole butternut squash. If you are looking to use only butternut squash and not use any pumpkin, then use 3 butternut squash. You may have to up the sweetness as well by adding an additional ¼ cup of brown sugar.
Vegan/Dairy Free: To make this soup vegan/dairy free, simply omit the heavy cream and use a total of 6-7 cups of water instead. Just keep in mind it won't turn out as creamy.
Light a fall candle, put some football on and enjoy THE fall soup.
Cheers and eat well!
Spiced Pumpkin and Honeynut Squash Bisque
With apples, pumpkin, squash and fall spices, this bisque is fall in a dish! It's quick, easy and so delicious!
6 medium honeynut squash (peeled/seeded/diced)(about 5 cups)
1 small pumpkin (cut in half)
3 each granny smith apples (cored/diced)
1 yellow onion (peeled/ diced)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
4 cups of heavy cream
Kosher salt as needed (about 1 tablespoon)
2-3 cups of water
The juice of ½ a lemon
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Oil or spray a sheet tray. Cut the pumpkin in half, right down the center of the stem and place each half seeds-side down on the sheet tray.
Bake at 400 F for about 40 minutes until the pumpkin becomes soft to the touch.
While the pumpkin is roasting, peel the honeynut squash, and then remove the seeds by cutting the base in half and scooping the seeds out with a spoon. Proceed to dice each squash into a large dice. Once diced, put all the squash into a bowl and set aside.
After cutting the squash, dice the apples and onions and set aside.
Once the pumpkin is roasted completely, remove the sheet tray from the oven, let it cool briefly, then scoop out the seeds and peel the skin off each half of the pumpkin. Cut the roasted pumpkin into medium-to-small dice.
Once everything is cut, put a large heavy bottomed pot on the stove and heat on high heat. Once the pot is hot, add about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and sauté the cut honeynut squash over medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Add about ½ teaspoon of salt to season the squash.
After the squash starts to become slightly golden in color (5-6 minutes), Add the apples and onions, followed by another ½ teaspoon of salt, and turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook everything for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After the 3-4 minutes, add the diced pumpkin, followed by a few pinches of salt.
Mix everything together, then add the pumpkin spice and ground cinnamon. Mix everything so that all the vegetables are coated with spices and turn the heat down to low and continue to cook the vegetables on a low heat, toasting the spices, for about 2 minutes.
Add the brown sugar and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and form a syrupy consistency, add the heavy cream to the pot and then add enough water to cover all of the vegetables by 2 inches (about 2 cups). Turn the heat to a medium-low heat and bring the soup to a simmer.
Once the soup starts to simmer, adjust the heat so that it is a nice and steady low simmer, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the squash and apples are soft in texture.
When everything is cooked, puree the soup, carefully, in your blender until it is smooth, in small batches. You may need to add more water to easily blend the soup.
Once all of the soup is blended, Add the lemon juice and season the soup to your liking with salt, brown sugar, and more lemon juice, if necessary.
**This soup will keep in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.
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