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Verses from my Kitchen: Sunday Soup: Squash Bisque with Herb Croutons

October 2, 2011

Sunday Soup: Squash Bisque with Herb Croutons

We woke up today with the rain playing a melody on our bedroom window. The sky outside was bruised black and blue. The sound of crab apples dropping out back gained in momentum as a few small crimson leaves slowly fell to the ground. Fall was on full display outside our window. It's now in full bloom.

My bones felt cold, slightly worn. The house was being fuelled by the fireplace downstairs, crackling with anticipation after a long hiatus. This was how we envisioned it. Dark, cold mornings and a beam of sunshine to warm up the afternoon enough to enjoy the colours on display outside. The rituals were falling into place, one by one. Just as we have to expect.

I can tell early on if it's going to be a soup kind of day. You can feel it with the rush of early morning wind pouring through your window. You can taste it when the first shiver runs through your body. And today was definitely one of those days. It was well earned. Anticipated.

Previous plans had been cancelled, opening up a void in the day for us. A rare weekend day with no plans on the agenda and no places to go or see. The only real excursion on the menu was a bundled up walk with the dog through the forest out back. That, and a day spent making soup in the kitchen. The kind of soup that warms you from your toes on up. And ignites your palate.

We threw on our comfortable clothes, the ones we haven't had to use for months. Our scarves came out of the box to help shield us on our walk and we were on our way. It had stopped raining, momentarily it turned out, so we decided on a log walk with Jack through the damp woody path out back. The sun had come out and lit our way.

The dense mulch pathway was littered with crab apples. Some had recently fallen, others were bruised and destroyed. The lush vegetation has been whittled down since summer ended. The vibrant colours have been replaced with softened shades of green, gold and orange. One only needs a glance back here to see the effects autumn has on mother nature. It's cyclical and beautiful.

Jack ran up and down the path in front of us, stopping every few feet to pick up a scent that's been dormant for the better part of a year. We both stopped and commented on the beauty that's on display at our footsteps. We snapped pictures and walked hand in hand as our dog spent the better part of an hour leading us through the trails and back again.

Just as we walked through the door the skies opened back up and came down. The warm, safe confines of home never looked so good. If it wasn't already, it was now the perfect time for a hot bowl of soup. The kind of soup that awakens the senses and warms your soul.

I worked away making this bisque while my wife got back to editing all those wedding photos we shot this summer. I turned on the music and lost track of time. It was the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon. Music, soup and the love of my life.

While the rain played a melody on our kitchen windows, we sat down to warm up with this bowl of soup. We talked about all the wonderful things we plan on doing during our favourite season. And we looked at the beauty on display outside. Fall was on full display. In full bloom.

From my kitchen to yours,


Squash Bisque

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • coarse sea salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water, plus more for consistency, if needed
  • 4 slices of baguette
  • 1 tbsp. parsley & sage
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the sage, squash, sweet potatoes, stock and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, roughly 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Return to pot and heat. Add more water to adjust consistency, or serve. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, using a small bowl, add in butter and herbs and mix. Brush onto four baguette slices and toast. Serve on top of soup.


At October 2, 2011 at 10:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

I'm fascinated already! Love your writing and photos and creative ways of displaying your food.

Do you ever cook for people on their homes for a special occasion?

Are your recipes actual recipes to start with or just a concoction of what you have on hand?


At October 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM , Anonymous David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

Stunning and delicious. Really inspiring.

I know what I'll be making next weekend.

At October 3, 2011 at 9:54 AM , Blogger Jenny said...

stumbled! Your photos are so incredible, not to mention this soup that looks perfect!

At October 3, 2011 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Cassie @ Bake Your Day said...

Your photographs and writing are so inspirational. I can't wait to try this soup!

At October 3, 2011 at 3:46 PM , Anonymous Ali said...

So inspirational, can't wait to taste the soup, got me craving or it. Great writing and I love the photos :)

At October 3, 2011 at 8:20 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

have to agree your photographs are incredible along with your writing (got this talent from your grandmother)
love reading your words

At October 3, 2011 at 10:47 PM , Blogger A Thought For Food said...

The definition of comfort food... in one scrumptious bowl.

At October 4, 2011 at 7:16 AM , Blogger Wenderly said...

Oh how I adore those Autumn days. Perfect. Just perfect.

At October 4, 2011 at 8:54 AM , Blogger Cookin' Canuck said...

More lovely prose from you, Mike. You made me feel as though as I was tagging along on the walk down the damp woody path. And how happy I would be to come back to a bowl of this beautiful soup.

At October 4, 2011 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Sippity Sup said...

You paint such a picture with your words. But I gotta admit being a Californian all that imagery is so foreign, yet oddly familiar. I rarely experience the seasons in that way. But the way you tell it makes me feel as if my past is filled with walks in the woods like that... GREG

At October 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM , Anonymous Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

I've been longing for one of those soup kind of days so feel like fall has really begun and soups take a permanent place at out dinner table.

At October 5, 2011 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Deb said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely afternoon with us. Your post evoked the magic of autumn with a fragrant and comforting recipe. Welcome to fall!

At October 5, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous marla said...

Sound like the perfect afternoon with your sweetie & this soup. I love the idea of crisp fall days & all kinds of experimenting with the flavors of the season. Extra fun with that big crouton floating in each serving :)

At October 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM , Blogger Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

Beautiful photos! And I just love squash bisque - perfect color soup for fall!

At October 10, 2011 at 10:46 AM , Anonymous Russell at Chasing Delicious said...

I love the presentation of this bisque! And more lovely shots!


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