SPOONING: Butternut Squash Curry Bisque

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

A few years back, I spent a very wet January working at a national park on the Oregon coast. Winters in the Pacific Northwest are particularly dreary, with a maritime dampness that reaches and shivers one’s bones. Alone for a month, living in a former military hospital (that’s another story), I spent my evenings and weekends cooking and trying new recipes. Inside, the warmth of the kitchen created a cozy atmosphere, pushing back and ignoring the perpetual darkness of winter.

During this time, I discovered this soup from Anna Thomas’ The New Vegetarian Epicure, which I’ve since adapted over the years. Everything about it, from the curry to the bright orange color, warms the core. A simmering pot of this soup is the perfect foil to any winter storm and a reminder of sunnier days ahead.

Butternut Squash Curry Bisque

1 hour. Serves 8


1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 golden delicious apple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

32 oz chicken stock, sodium free

1 cup water

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into quarter-inch slices

1 jalapeno, (seeded if you want less heat), cut into quarter-inch slices

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

½ cup cilantro, stems removed


Add squash and apple to a large stock pot or Dutch oven and cover with chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil.

While the water is heating, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, jalapeno, and first three cloves of chopped garlic, and cook for three more minutes until fragrant.

Add the onion, ginger, jalapeno, and garlic to the now-boiling pot, mix, and reduce heat to a simmer so that small bubbles continue to break the surface.

Add the remaining spices and seasoning: curry, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and honey. Continue simmering over a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The squash should easily fall apart by this point.

Make the garlic chips by heating the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and toast gently, no more than a few minutes, until it is golden. Do not let it burn and become bitter. Use a slotted spatula and spread garlic on paper towel to absorb residual oil.

Using an immersion blender (recommended) or a food processor (messy, but also effective), puree the soup mixture until everything is smooth and has a creamy texture. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro, garlic chips, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. 


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