Friday, February 29, 2008

29.02.08: Butternut Bisque

I took a walk down East Street market and at its far end I found a stall selling two big butternut squashes for a pound, so I bought four and figured I'd refine and quantify the Carroty Gingernut recipe what I rocked on 04.02.08.

Having onion and celery for the mirepoix, I spent another pound on carrots and ginger. I also had the end of a jar of biber salçası in the 'fridge, so all I needed from Oli's when I went there to buy bread was a slab of creamed coconut and also a bunch of fresh coriander for the garnish.

1. First, make a mirepoix by chopping onions, celery and carrots - about a pound, or half a kilo of each - and sweat these chopped vegetables with a few peeled cloves of garlic in a splash of oil in the bottom of a soup pot, keeping its lid on to preserve moisture.

2. Add the ginger. If added to the base of the soup and allowed to cook down with the mirepoix, the flavour of fresh ginger will mellow and be pervasive without being over powering. It's hard to overdo it and, if you do, you can always calm down the gingery-ness with coconut. Anyway, in this instance, I used probably four fat thumbs or maybe 12cc of fresh ginger, peeled and minced and mixed into the cooking mirepoix.

3. Peel the butternut squashes. If using a speed peeler, make sure all the skin is removed, down to the orange flesh. Cut the squashes in half and remove their seeds, then chop them into roughly 2cm cubes.

4. Before adding the diced squash to the soup pot, first add 200-250g of biber salçası (red pepper paste), if you have it. If not, use tomato puree.

5. Now add the diced squashes to the soup pot and cover with four litres of Marigold bouillon (one litre per squash). Bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes, until the flesh is soft enough to be blended.

6. Turn off the heat and leave the pot to stand for five or ten minutes. This is particularly important in this recipe, because you want the texture of the soup to be as silky as possible and, therefore, all its contents must be thoroughly cooked before blending.

7. While the soup is cooling, before it's blended, dissolve 100g of creamed coconut in a litre of boiling water and make up another litre of Marigold bouillon. As you blend the soup, slowly pour in this extra liquid to achieve a smooth consistency.

8. Check the seasoning. If the ginger flavour is too pronounced, you can calm it down by grating more creamed coconut directly into the soup. Serve garnished with chopped coriander.

This soup went down really well, BTW, with many second and third bowls served;-)

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