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Chef John's Butternut Bisque

Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars

"For a winter special occasion or just a weekday meal, this butternut bisque makes a perfect, warming starter course. The snipped chives and pomegranate garnishes add a festive touch, but you can also use crumbled bacon and a swirl of crème fraiche."
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50 m servings 231
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and a large pinch of salt. Cook and stir until onions have softened but not taken on any color, about 10 or 15 minutes.
  2. Cut off ends of squash. Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut into chunks.
  3. Raise heat under pot to medium-high. Stir in tomato paste; cook and stir until mixture begins to caramelize and turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add squash, chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until squash is very tender, 15 to 25 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Stir in cream and maple syrup; add more salt if needed.
  4. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with a swirl of cream, and a sprinkle of chives and pomegranate seeds.


  • Chef's Note:
  • If I'd intended this bisque to be a main course, I would probably have roasted the squash first. When you roast butternut squash, you caramelize and concentrate the flesh, and get something sweeter, starchier, and richer. That's perfect if you're enjoying it as a meal, but maybe not such a great thing if it's going to be followed by additional courses.
  • If you don't have an immersion blender, you can blend the squash mixture in batches in a regular blender. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 231 calories; 13.7 27.1 3.2 46 1059 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 4
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I made this for a Super Bowl gathering. I made this and two other soups. I should have just made this one - it disappeared in a hurry and our guests wanted copies of the recipe before they left ...

Made this Butternut Squash Bisque, It taste great! I could not find a 2lb butternut squash, used a 3lb one, followed the directions, added a little more butter (5 tbs) and needed to add some wa...

This was a delicious and super easy recipe that will definitely be made again. I did decide to roast the squash (peeled and cubed before roasting for 24 minutes at 400 degrees). I also skipped ...

I added carrots. Turned out perfect.