Obsessed with the West: Southwestern Squash Bisque with Cilantro Crema
I’m a tiny bit obsessed with New Mexican food. I will gladly admit to this obsession. I was sometimes the subject of teasing in culinary school because my go-to special ingredient was usually chiles, often chipotle, and I used these magical ingredients in all sorts of dishes. This obsession with all things New Mexican (and Mexican or Columbian for that matter) is one of the reasons that I’m starting culinary tours of the region that has me so bewitched. My next adventure is just around the corner on October 1-5th, 2009. Holler if you want to come along.
Lately, my cooking has become all Mexican-all the time because I’m prepping to teach a number of classes on New Mexican and Mexican food, and going to be a guest chef at the Natural Gourmet with my dear friend Kiki on November 6th. Our menu is, of course, Southwestern, local and seasonal.
This recipe is one of the recent experiments that I was especially pleased with. Recently, I discovered that I had more summer squash than I knew what to do with. And not the lovely, delicate squash, but the kind you could swing at a ball and strike it pretty far. The dilemma of what to do with a squash this size became spurred the birth of this recipe. Lately, summer overabundance seems to be my creative inspiration… I just hate to see perfectly good, home grown food, go bad.
Southwestern Summer Squash Bisque with Cilantro Crema
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs unsalted butter
6 cups of summer squash, peeled and diced (and seeded if they are large)
3 roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk
4 oz fat free sour cream
Handful of cilantro
Salt to taste
Heat a 10 quart soup pot and melt butter over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until transluscent, about 8 minutes. Add the spices and saute another 3 minutes, until you can smell them. Add the squash and saute until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the red peppers and saute a few minutes more. Add cream and milk and bring to a gentle simmer for a minute. Let cool and puree.
Make the cilantro crema by putting sour cream, cilantro and salt to taste in food processor and blend until the cilantro is fine. Reheat soup gently, and then top soup with cilantro crema and cilantro sprig.