So if cooking is applied chemistry, and I'm the one puttering in the kitchen, that makes me a mad scientist, right?
Seriously, I think I need some beakers and retorts and maybe a Bunsen burner to make my kitchen completely complete. It would make me feel like Dr. Kiki, and perhaps inspire a more Scientific Approach to my cooking.
I had no plan last night, and since Wednesday is grocery day, ye olde kitchen supplies are getting pretty low. So I wandered around for a bit, pulling things out of cabinets and ripening bowls and crisper drawers, and came up with a pile of ingredients that looked medium-promising. Peppers! Squash! Ummm… that thickening-with-sour-cream thing I did the night before! Mix it all together… add a little heat… add a little more heat… and IT'S ALIIIIIIIIVE!
Next time, I would add two carrots (no more, no less) and probably cook the squash & carrots separately in broth, then puree, then add the vegetable saute (just 'cause the peppers look so pretty in little bright chunks). (The recipe below is reflecting this mental reconceiving.) And, y'know, a little cooked/crumbled bacon would not have been amiss either.
Butternut Squash-Pepper Bisque
Serves eight (guess what we're having for lunch?)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium butternut squash, peeled (a regular veg peeler works best), seeded and cut into 1" chunks
4 cups veg or chicken broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small to medium onions, chopped
2 medium red or orange bell peppers (or one of each!), chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
A couple generous pinches of salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk, half-and-half or cream
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh sage leaves for garnish (or, even better: whole sage leaves fried in a little butter until just crisp)
Pepper grinder to put on the table–the fresh coarse-ground pepper looks really pretty on top of the soup
In a soup pot, combine carrots, squash and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until squash is very tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and peppers; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and peppers are tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper flakes; cook and stir one minute more. Set aside.
When squash is tender, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree mixture until very smooth. Return to pot, if you took it out to puree it. Add sauteed vegetables. Return to a simmer over medium-low heat. Taste and correct for salt (don't pepper it yet).
In a medium bowl, stir sour cream until smooth. Add 1 cup of soup and whisk until completely combined; whisk back into soup in pot. Whisk in milk or cream. Cook just until heated through; do not boil.
Ladle into bowls; top with sage; grind a little pepper over all and serve it forth.