PATTI’S BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE
Fall rolls into Michigan and my mind turns to soup. I think first of the silky Butternut Squash Bisque my friend Patti made. She introduced me to squash soup, or that’s how I remember it. After that, I began to regularly make squash soup, tried out recipes and developed my own. But Patti started things, as she often did for me. She introduced me to so many things that made my life richer.
In her lovely and most convenient Arizona kitchen, she served perfectly cooked steak on a bed of arugula. Seven years ago that was a new combination to me. I loved the lightly dressed greens with the rare tender beef. These days, most steaks pictured in the food magazines are piled with greens, and Michael Symon fixed steak and arugula in a five-minute meal on the television show The Chew.
Patti introduced me to books about women pioneering in Arizona, and I enjoyed several. She recommended Sandra Day O’Conner’s terrific autobiography of growing up on a working (and I do mean working) ranch in the southern part of Arizona near the Texas border. The book is titled Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest. It is a great read, and I think tells much about the woman Sandra Day O’Conner became. It is an example of an excellent autobiography.
Patti and I loved to cook together and shop together, especially bookstores and stationery stores. We both had a weakness for good notepaper. I tried to use the best I had on hand when I sent her a note. Anytime we talked: in person, on paper, or via internet, she was always ready with encouragement and good cheer. We smiled together in so many ways. Mostly, she was only an e-mail away.
And now, she’s not.
I lost her this summer to a difficult and ultimately, fatal illness. As much as I miss her, I know there are many who miss her more. I keep them in my prayers.
Early this summer she encouraged me as I started this blog. I write my sorrow as a tribute to a gracious and memorable woman. “So connected” is how I always think of my friendship with Patti. I offer Patti’s Butternut Squash Bisque so that many of you can celebrate her life by cooking and eating this soup. It tastes of love, spicy and rich.
Patti’s Butternut Squash Bisque
3 tablespoons butter
1 med. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 butternut squash (about 4 lbs) peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 ½ oz)
1 cup half and half
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
sour cream for serving
1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon and cayenne. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is softened. 5-7 min.
2. Add squash, broth, half and half and 3 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 20 min.
3. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth or use an immersion blender. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired.
To Freeze: Ladle cooled bisque (without sour cream) into air-tight containers, leaving 1 inch of space. Freeze up to 3 months.