Simply the BEST Butternut Squash Soup! Switch up your autumn soup game and treat yourself, family and friends to this extraordinary twist on classic Butternut Squash Soup—Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque. The bright flavor notes of carrot, citrus and ginger, with a whisper of warm coriander, shine through for a new favorite Thanksgiving soup or a special everyday warming winter soup. This vegetarian recipe can easily be made vegan and paleo with our dairy free variation. Holiday guests will LOVE it!
A New Thanksgiving Classic:
Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque
My friends, today I am thrilled to finally share with you a divine Thanksgiving holiday soup course recipe that I have been making since the mid-1990s. Since then, however, I like to make it dairy free. Honestly, I cannot believe it has been this long. Twenty years? Yikes.
Remember my promise, in this recent post, that more Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes would be coming soon to the blog with layers of flavors—of the savory kind, too? Well, here you go. A promise fulfilled.
This bisque is magical. In fact, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without it on our holiday table. And, yes…this blog is still a baking blog. (You are not crazy and seeing things.) However, every now and then I enjoy sprinkling in holiday recipes that are not baked and are of the savory kind. Recipes are meant for sharing and I have wanted to share this original recipe with you, my dear readers, since 2012 when I first started this here blog posting holiday recipes. If you have not guessed yet, I have been working on a Thanksgiving 101 Series, with some posts being step-by-step tutorials.
Be sure to check out Wicked Good Kitchen’s Thanksgiving 101 Tutorials (listed below) complete with step-by-step photos and instructions following the recipe—especially Turkey Brining 101. It is the popular post that almost got me kicked off my server with my host company last year, and the year prior, due to the huge influx of traffic in such a short time span. (As always, thank you for your readership and support!) It’s quite hilarious to think of all that now. Of course, that will never happen since we have a dedicated server now with the same host company—a gift from The Big Lug.
Wicked Good Kitchen’s Thanksgiving 101 Series:
Now, let’s get back to discussing this sublime autumn bisque.
The inspiration for this phenomenal soup or bisque recipe comes from two (2) Gourmet Magazine recipes from the early 1990s, Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (March 1993) and Gingered Carrot Soup (November 1991).
Being an avid reader of Gourmet for many years, for Thanksgiving back in 1994, I decided to blend the concept of these two soups together to create one fabulous soup. During that time, I made some changes to improve upon the flavor profile. By using a fine-quality vegetable stock versus the water and chicken stock called for in both recipes, and adding fresh orange zest as well as some ground coriander and just a hint of spice with cinnamon and nutmeg to marry with the fresh ginger, the bisque was taken to new heights in flavor. Phenomenal, or magical, it does not matter—either word accurately describes this deceptively easy to prepare, yet fancy soup or bisque.
The reason this squash soup is easy to prepare is because this particular variety of squash, butternut squash, truly is easy to use. It’s small enough to handle easily (even the large ones) and has a thin enough rind that it is quickly and easily peeled with a simple vegetable peeler found in any modestly equipped kitchen. Just be sure to have a good, sharpened chef’s knife at the ready with a good chopping board and be careful while cutting the squash in half across the middle, slicing each half lengthwise, and after seeding, chopping into cubes.
Our Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque is rich yet delicate with subtle spicing and is the ideal way to begin the Thanksgiving Day feast. Ginger, among other spices, was highly prized by the early colonists because the flavors sparked memories of favorite heritage holiday dishes from England. The mild spicing in our bisque recipe is perfect for the first course so as to delight the palate yet not overwhelm.
My friends, your holiday guests will immensely enjoy this spectacular bisque to the point of requesting that you make it a new yearly tradition for Thanksgiving. When I first made it, I kept fielding questions as to what’s in it and why is it so tasty. After answering with vegetable stock, carrots, cream and ginger, I had to field, “Yes. But, what else?” Haha! Then, I mentioned the orange zest and spices. That final answer satisfied everyone’s curiosity as to how this splendid Butternut Squash Bisque went beyond the sweet and nutty flavor profile of its namesake squash. The comments centered on the words “fresh” and “bright” as well as “perfectly spiced”.
When I prepare this soup the day before the holiday each year, it assures me that Thanksgiving has arrived. Mmmm. The aroma that will fill your kitchen and home is alone comforting. As for the taste? Seriously, it’s like tasting warm autumn sunshine on a spoon. Since my favorite time of year is fall, I am totally smitten with this recipe and hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
So. What makes a soup a bisque, you ask?
First, it is important to know that all bisques are soups. However, it is also important to know that not all soups are bisques. It is similar to how Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac.
The term “bisque” has been classically used (in the French way) to describe a seafood-based soup that has first been puréed until completely smooth and evenly textured followed by the addition of cream. But, it wasn’t always just seafood. More on that in a moment.
In more modern times, and here in the USA, the term “bisque” has been used to describe any thick soup, including vegetarian soups with either sautéed or roasted vegetables, like peppers, root vegetables, squash or tomatoes, that are puréed until smooth and thick, followed by the addition of cream and then lightly spiced.
According to my copy of Larousse Gastronomique, on page 99:
A seasoned shellfish purée flavoured with white wine, Cognac, and fresh cream, used as the basis of a soup. The flesh of the main ingredient (crayfish, lobster, crab, etc.) is diced as for a salpicon and used as a garnish. The shells are also used to make the initial purée.
The word bisque has been in use for centuries and suggests a connection with the Spanish province of Biscay. It was originally used to describe a highly spiced dish of boiled meat or game. Subsequently, bisques were made using pigeons or quails and garnished with crayfish or cheese croûtes. It was not until the 17th century that crayfish became the principal ingredient of this dish, which soon after was also prepared with other types of shellfish.
So, you see? The term “bisque” is not exclusive to seafood.
The difference between a “bisque” and “creamed soups” is that the bisque is always puréed whereas the creamed soup, generally, is not. In addition, chowders are not considered bisques because they are not pureed until smooth. Therefore, the modern use of the term “bisque” suits our vegetarian Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque quite nicely.
Now, aren’t you glad you stopped by today to learn the difference between a soup, a creamed soup, a chowder and a bisque?
Here are more Thanksgiving recipes found on the blog that you do not want to miss—especially the 5-Star Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing. After posting the recipe back in 1998 to the Allrecipes.com site, this recipe has gone viral with many families making it their favorite Thanksgiving turkey stuffing each holiday. Currently, the recipe has a 5-star rating and over 2,000 reviews. It will truly rock your ever-loving turkey stuffing world!
Wicked Good Kitchen’s Thanksgiving Recipe Collection:
Brandy and Tangerine-Glazed Roasted Turkey
Cider, Brandy and Tangerine Glaze
Cider & Citrus Turkey Brine with Herbs and Spices
Golden Thanksgiving Turkey Giblet Stock
5-Star Apple, Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing
Grandma’s Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread
Brandied Apple and Orange Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie Martini Cocktail
Cranberry Spice Jam
Christmas Cranberry Buckle
Do yourself and your holiday guests a solid and serve our Gingered Butternut Squash and Carrot Bisque this Thanksgiving holiday. Everyone will love it. That’s a promise.
Warmest wishes to you, your family and friends for a meaningful and happy Thanksgiving Day holiday!
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
- For the Bisque
- 4 tablespoons (about 57 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (about 340 grams) chopped yellow onion, from 1 large onion
- 1 large (4-pound/1800-gram) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, about 8 to 10 cups
- 1½ cups (about 227 grams) peeled and thinly sliced carrots, from 2 large carrots
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) peeled & minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) freshly grated orange zest, from 1 large navel orange
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground coriander
- 5 cups (1200 ml) pure organic vegetable stock
- 1 cup (240 ml) organic half and half cream
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Fine-quality ground cinnamon, to taste
- Freshly grated whole nutmeg, to taste
- For the Optional Garnishes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Dairy sour cream
- Fresh minced parsley leaves and/or small parsley sprigs
Tips:Bisque can be prepared one (1) day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Cook time includes processing cooked vegetables in food processor as well as rewarming the bisque. For Dairy Free, Vegan and Paleo Variation: Substitute 4 tablespoons (about 57 grams) dairy butter with 2 tablespoons (about 28 grams) coconut oil plus 2 tablespoons (about 24 grams) butter-flavored palm shortening, such as by Spectrum®. Alternatively, 4 tablespoons (about 60 grams) ghee can be used for a paleo version as well as for vegans who consume ghee. Finally, substitute 1 cup (240 ml) half and half dairy cream with ½ cup (120 ml) almond milk and ½ cup (120 ml) full fat coconut milk. Alternatively, 1 cup (240 ml) full fat coconut milk can be substituted for an extra-creamy and rich bisque. For garnish, drizzle, swirl or dollop (depending on the thickness of) full fat coconut milk on top in lieu of dairy sour cream. For a special autumnal touch, garnish with toasted pepitas and a dash of smoked paprika as well as sour cream or full fat coconut milk. When shopping for butternut squash, look for one (1) large squash for this recipe that weighs 4 pounds or two (2) medium squash that weigh 2 pounds each. While the average butternut squash weighs approximately 2 to 3 pounds, small butternut squash can weigh as little as 1 pound and large butternut squash can weigh 4 to 5 pounds. Recipe Inspired by: Gourmet Magazine’s Gingered Butternut Squash Soup (March 1993) and Gingered Carrot Soup (November 1991).
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