Sunday, January 9, 2011

Butternut Squash & Tasso Bisque




The best part of my Thanksgiving dinner in New Orleans was the first course, a Butternut Squash and Tasso Bisque. I’ve wanted to make a batch ever since. I found a couple of different recipes online, but unfortunately also found that our so-called local “Cajun Connection,” the Bayou Smokehouse, which claims to have “Everything from A to Z from Abita Root Beer to Zapps Potato Chips!” does not have tasso. A minor setback – before we can make soup, we’ll have to make tasso!
 
DH cut a small pork roast into 3/4-1 inch thick strips, each about 4-5 inches long. He rubbed the strips down with a spice mixture that was equal portions black pepper, paprika and brown sugar, wrapped them in plastic and refrigerated them overnight. We smoked the pork for about 5-6 hours and voila! Tasso.

Now we were ready to make soup.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Tasso Bisque

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup minced tasso (plus extra for garnish)
  • 1/2 chopped cup onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Chives, cut into one-inch pieces for garnish
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Split the butternut squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. 
  3. Coat the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, place on foil covered sheet pan. 
  4. Roast the squash in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. 
  5. Allow to cool slightly. Scoop out squash pulp from shell and discard shell. Mash the squash pulp.
  6. Heat the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauce pot, add  the tasso, onions, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. 
  7. Add the chicken broth, nutmeg, hot sauce and mashed squash. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, whisking occasionally. Puree the soup using an immersion blender.
  8. Stir in the cream and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. 
  9. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with minced tasso and chives.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes

I’ll admit that my kids were not wild about this soup, but DH and I loved it. We each had a bowl of soup and a Catfish Po-boy for dinner tonight. I’ll make it again as a first course for a grown-up dinner party.

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