Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque

I had this recipe in mind when I first got my hands on a butternut squash at the farmers' market back in September. I went so far as to make my own shellfish stock by simmering crab shells and leftover shrimp tails with white wine, onions, celery and carrots and a hit of tomato paste. The house smelled like a crab house down by a Maryland pier, and the cat was going out of his mind, taunted by the smells of seafood.

As it turned out, by the time the stock had finished simmering and I had cleared out the detritus of stock-making, I lost my will to live and felt no urgency to clean, roast and then puree the squash, so I ended up freezing the stock for "some other time."

Well, that time came, and was it ever worth it!

Butternut Squash and Crab Bisque

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion and 1 small shallot, chopped - about 1 cup, total
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot - I also tossed in some leftover parsnip
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups butternut squash - I used already roasted cubes and puree
  • 2 - 3 quarts of stock, simmering - I used homemade shellfish stock, but chicken or vegetable  will work nicely too*
  • Old Bay
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crab meat
  • cracker crumbs (optional)
  • heavy cream (optional)
  • sherry (optional)

  1. Saute the chopped onion and shallot in olive oil over medium heat until softened, then add the carrots, parsnip (if using) and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the butternut squash and 2 cups of the warmed stock and bring to a boil, then add another 2 cups of stock and simmer, covered until the squash is fully cooked, adding more stock as needed.
  3. Puree the soup with a stick blender or in batches in a blender, adding more warm stock as needed to reach the consistency you like.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and Old Bay. You can be generous with the Old Bay. This soup can accept a lot of seasoning. 
  5. Ladle into bowls, hit with a shot of cream and/or sherry and top with lump crab meat and cracker crumbs and another dusting of Old Bay.


  • When I make pureed soups like these, I generally keep a large pot of stock simmering on the back burner. I can never say with certainty how much stock goes into these soups, but I'd rather err on the side of having too much stock at hand than not enough. Any remaining stock gets refrigerated or frozen in ice trays for other uses, so stock never has to go down the drain.


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