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Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque

Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque

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I always season long preparations like soups or stews at the beginning of the cooking and adjust to taste at the end. Seasoning early means the salt and pepper get absorbed more evenly for a more balanced and uniform flavor.

Reprinted with permission from The Paley's Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest by Vitaly Paley. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House.


  • ¼ Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ Pound butternut squash, peeled, seeds and strings scooped out, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large pear, preferably Bosc, peeled, halved, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ½ Teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 Cup apple cider
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Creme fraiche, for garnish
  • Dill sprigs, for garnish


In a 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and pear and season with salt and pepper. Decrease the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash softens and caramelizes slightly, about 15 minutes.

Add the curry powder and continue stirring for 1 minute to let the curry flavors bloom. Pour in the apple cider. Increase the heat to medium, add the water, and simmer until the squash is completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Stir in the cream and return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. In batches, carefully liquefy the hot soup in a blender.

To serve, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and dill sprigs.

This soup can be made a day in advance, cooked in an ice-water bath, and refrigerated overnight.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving489

Folate equivalent (total)61µg15%

Reynolds Kitchens tip

The perfect pairing for those brisk fall nights! This delicious butternut squash bisque can be cooked in a slow cooker to free up oven space for other dishes. And with Reynolds Kitchens ® Slow Cooker Liners, cleanup is quick and easy so you have more time to cuddle up with your family on the couch.


  • 1 butternut squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 package (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Polenta Croutons (below, optional)
  • Reynolds Kitchens® Slow Cooker Liners
  • Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Foil

Recipe Summary

  • 2 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • olive oil
  • 2 sweet onions (such as Vidalia®), diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1 (8.4 ounce) package medium-hot curry sauce (such as S&B® Golden Curry)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut cream
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, or to taste
  • 16 fresh cilantro leaves, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place squash onto a baking sheet cut-side down.

Bake squash in preheated oven until the skin loosens from the flesh, about 40 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a 5-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vegetable stock, curry sauce, and apples to the stockpot bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cut squash into 1-inch cubes add to the stockpot. Bring the mixture again to a simmer, place a cover on the pot, and cook, stirring once every 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and breaks apart easily when stirred, about 2 hours.

Remove pot from heat and blend soup with an immersion blender until completely pureed. Pour coconut cream into the soup continue blending until creamy. Top each serving with toasted pine nuts and a couple of leaves of cilantro.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds butternut squash
  • 1 onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 14 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped cashews

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cut squash in half lengthwise remove and discard seeds. Arrange the squash halves, cut sides down, in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn squash halves cut sides up. Bake, covered, 20 to 25 minutes more or until squash is tender. Let cool slightly. Carefully scoop the pulp from squash halves into a medium bowl discard shells. Mash squash slightly with a potato masher set aside.

In a large saucepan cook onion in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and ginger cook and stir 1 minute more. Carefully stir in mashed squash, chicken, broth, coconut milk, water, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.

To serve, spoon hot rice and bisque into bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro and cashews. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque

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Can I use light coconut milk?

If you want to save a few more calories then feel free to swap the full-fat canned coconut for light. I prefer full fat as it is much more creamy and when you are dividing this curry recipe up into servings it really isn’t too many syns or points.

I don’t recommend using the coconut milk that comes in a carton, as it has a very high water content and will just be too runny and not pack enough flavour.

Also did you know that light coconut milk is actually huge full fat coconut milk with a high water content, so you are actually paying more for light coconut milk, instead just use less full fat coconut milk and add more liquid.

Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

You may have some of the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen already &ndash the full list with measurements is found in the recipe card.

For your convenience, any specialized ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been linked to Amazon below.

    &ndash this is not ALL the spices as the name suggests, but is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica tree. Similar to cloves. &ndash you can use mild or hot curry powder to your personal tastes. &ndash I seem to throw cinnamon into most autumnal soups! or Vegetable Stock &ndash either your own homemade stock, from a stock cube/bouillon, or from a carton/can/pouch. &ndash or pumpkin seeds, toasted for garnish

This recipe uses American cups. They&rsquore a handy piece of kitchen equipment to have along with a kitchen food scale. Having both in your kitchen means you&rsquoll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog as I use both cups and weighted measures.

This recipe uses a large 6-quart/6-litre slow cooker, but if yours is smaller you can halve the recipe if you need to.

The soup is also blended using an immersion blender, a regular stand blender, or a food processor.

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque

It’s Friday. That means one thing. I’ve got tons of left over veggies from dicing and chopping all week long. There’s only one good thing to do with them. I spread them out on a huge sheet tray, drizzle them with tons of olive oil, smoked sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. Then, I roast until they’re tender. I also drizzle a little white balsamic reduction (you can find it in the grocery aisle near the vinegars) or a little white balsamic vinaigrette. Either way, it’s good eating.

I also decided to use up my butternut squash in a super simple curried bisque. It’s soooooooo freaking good. You’ll love it. I will admit, I was inspired to make this after having a curried corn bisque in New Orleans – but, nevertheless, this is delicious.

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups of diced butternut squash
1/2 cup of diced onions
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of yellow curry powder (the Jamaican kind)
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup of coconut milk
salt, to taste

To make the bisque, start by heating the vegetable broth in a pot. When it comes to a boil, add in the butternut squash, onions, and garlic. Cook the squash for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. If you find that the pan liquids are getting too dry, just add in a few more swigs of vegetable broth.

Once the squash is tender, season the soup with the curry powder, garlic powder, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper. Taste the soup. Depending upon your brand of vegetable broth, you might need to add in a bit more salt. Do this now. Then, blend the soup using either an immersion blender or a traditional blender. Blend until it’s smooth.

To thin out the soup to your desired thickness, add in the coconut milk. Add as much as you’d like so that you get the thickness of the bisque. Then, to garnish, I just drizzled a bit of olive oil over the bisque and topped it with fried sage leaves.

Curried Butternut Bisque

Winter squash soup of one sort or another is in regular rotation on our table in the fall and winter months, and this curried version is our absolute favorite.

The flavor and texture of the butternut squash is sturdy enough to stand up with the curry and chili, and the silky-sweetness of the coconut milk brings balance. This soup is good right out of the pot, but is even better the next day.

We eat this soup with kids around the table, so it’s always helpful to have a little extra coconut milk for serving, in case someone needs to stir some in to “cut the spice” as we say.

The kiddos go in and out of enjoying this soup as they do with anything else, so we take it in stride—which actually means try—and sometimes fail—to not be driven absolutely bonkers by their fickleness.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Bisque

Adapted from The Spirited Vegetarian: Over 100 Recipes Made Lively with Wine and Spirits, by Paulette Mitchell.

Drink Recommendations: "Creamy" and "sweet" are the key factors in this dish, which incline one to pair it with a contrasting taste, such as the crisp acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc, the sharp hoppiness of an American-style pale ale or the dryness of a moderately smoky Speyside single malt, diluted with spring water to about 50 proof.

  • 1 two-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • Walnuts, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1¼ cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac or other brandy
  • 1-¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1-¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Walnuts, toasted and chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool and remove pulp with a spoon. You should have about 2 cups.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the nuts jut begin to color and become fragrant, watching them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl to cool.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pear and onion, cooking until tender, about 10 minutes. Add curry powder and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.

Stir in squash pulp and vegetable stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Purée the soup with an immersion blender or, working in batches, transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth. If you’ve used a blender, return the soup to the pot. Stir in the half-and-half, Cognac, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is warmed through, taking care not to let the soup boil. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Serve in soup bowls garnished with walnuts.