Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque – Halloween Style

Main Ingredients
apples carrots ginger gnocchi squash
Battle
halloween colors
Course
main

The husband and I loved the Butternut Squash Bisque from the previous challenge, and we wanted more more MORE. I know what you are thinking… but this is NOT a copout!! Reminder: it is still fall, and it’s still squash season! PLUS, the squash is orange, so it fits in well with this Halloween battle. I changed up the recipe significantly to make the flavors different. I wanted to make sure to bring out the orange, so I included carrots this time. I also added apples and ginger for flavor. It didn’t really matter what I did, though, because I don’t think it’s possible to screw up butternut squash soup.

   

I knew I wanted to “draw” a spider web on the soup with crème fraîche. White is not part of this battle, so I needed something to dye it black. Dying a white dairy product black is not as easy as is might sound, however. I googled a bit and found that squid ink is the best thing to color savory foods black. Unfortunately, squid ink is just not something I keep in my pantry, and I wasn’t going to go get some just for this. I decided to use those food coloring droppers that have been sitting in my baking cabinet for so long, and do my best to get it to look black. I had to use a lot in the 2 Tbsp of crème fraîche… 17 drops of blue + 15 drops of red made a purply-gray that was dark enough, and I added 1 drop of yellow to tone down the purple tint.

Normally this would have been enough for the dish, but the apple peels were sitting there on my cutting board, begging to be used. They were nice and red, which is one of the colors in this challenge. I figured I’d try to make a slimy green spider with green legs… The gnocchi in my fridge worked well when boiled in lots and lots (and lots) of drops of green food coloring. I would have used spinach to be natural, but didn’t have any.

 

 

The soup tasted GREAT. Every time the husband has butternut squash, he wonders out loud why it took him so many decades to actually try it. He really enjoyed all the different flavors in the soup… he especially was raving about the apple and ginger. I can’t believe I’m writing down this quote – he was trying to channel his inner Food Network judge and said: “If the soup is like the ocean, the apples are like the white caps on the waves, tingling your tastebuds.” Or something like that. WTH? Whatever, it was meant as an awesome compliment, so I’ll take it!

The girl said the gnocchi “spider” did nothing for her. OK then. She would have liked it when she was four. Or seven. Or maybe even ten. She also thought the soup was the leftover corn chowder that I had made the other night, so she thought something was really wrong with it, because it didn’t taste like corn chowder. Can’t argue with that. I ended up giving her the leftover chowder for dinner instead of the bisque. I got to eat her bisque. The boy ate nothing but the green gnocchi… he STILL was afraid of the squash (and I have no idea why). So, I mixed up some sauce for him using cream, parmesan and butter, and he ended up with slimy green alfredo bugs for dinner. Overall, a great seasonal meal for Meatless Monday!

Recipe

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque – Halloween Style

Preparation

  • 1 butternut squash, cut up into chunks (orange)
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut up (orange
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut up, keep the peels for the spiders (recipe follows) (red)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • milk, as needed
  • red food coloring (15 drops) + blue food coloring (17 drops) + yellow food coloring (1 drop) = black food coloring (or close enough)
  • 1 package gnocchi (or homemade if you have the opportunity)
  • green food coloring, or spinach
Put the squash into a large pan coated with foil. Sprinkle with ginger, salt and pepper. Drizzle all over with honey. Roast the squash at 450 degrees until browned and soft. Let cool slightly. 
 
Heat the butter and olive oil in a soup pot. Saute the carrots and onions until soft. Add the apples and saute until browned and soft. Add the roasted squash along with all of the liquid that accumulated. Continue to heat softened vegetables and fruit in the pot until the liquids reduce slightly. 
 
Add the chicken stock to the pot. Combine with a stick blender until smooth. Bring to boiling. Add heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Ladle into bowls. 
 
Color the crème fraîche in a small glass bowl. Add a little milk to thin it out slightly, if necessary. The liquid should make a thin stream when drizzled with a spoon. Pour the liquid into a plastic bag. Poke a small hole in a bottom corner and use to draw the spider web spiral onto the soup. Using a toothpick, draw radial lines coming out of the center of the spiral to create the "web".  Serve hot, topped with a gnocchi spider. 
 
Slimy Gnocchi Spiders
Boil 1 or 2 cups of water with green food coloring added (or spinach). Add the gnocchi to the boiling water, and continue to boil until they float. The outside of the gnocchi will turn green, but the insides will remain gnocchi-colored. Cool. 
 
Thinly slice some of the apple peels so they look like matchsticks. Stick them into the gnocchi to form spiders. 

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