September 25, 2013 • 08:53:39 a.m.

A hearty, easy, have-it-your-way squash bisque

By ALISON LADMAN - The Associated Press

Carmalized onion and squash bisque (AP)

There is something so perfect, so satisfying about a bowl of warm squash bisque on a cool fall evening. And it is such a versatile dish, it is easily doctored in so many ways.

Using that blend of versatility and comfort as our inspiration, we created a fast and easy squash bisque that becomes a base for whatever autumn flavors you are craving. You could, of course, keep it basic and simply top this bisque with a dollop of sour cream. But we also suggest six variations of toppings, including shrimp, bacon and pulled pork.

You also could make the bisque vegan by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth and almond or soy creamer for the heavy cream.

Caramelized Onion And Squash Bisque

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large sweet onions, diced

2 medium shallots, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 pounds cubed, peeled butternut squash

3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Ground black pepper

In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions, shallots, salt and herbs, then sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and brown, about another 20 minutes.

Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan. Add the squash and 3 cups of the broth, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the squash is completely tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. Alternatively, purée the soup in the pot using an immersion blender. Either way, take care when blending hot liquids.

Return the bisque to the heat and stir in the cream. If a thinner bisque is desired, thin the soup with the remaining cup of broth. Heat until just hot. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving of bisque (not including toppings): 200 calories; 130 calories from fat (65 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 40 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 3 g protein; 280 mg sodium.


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