Butternut Squash and Roasted-Garlic Bisque

Butternut Squash and Roasted-Garlic Bisque

Our Butternut Squash and Roasted-Garlic Bisque is a rich, hearty soup perfect for lunch or as the starter at your next gathering.

After Heather and I were married in 2000, we both wanted to find a way to celebrate the special people in our lives, to raise the bar beyond our usual dinner parties and bring in distinctive elements of color, candlelight, soft jazz and extra doses of deliciousness. Thus, our Fall Feast was born. Each November, we invite our most intimate friends to adorn themselves in beautiful attire, gather together, enjoy a libation or two and let us spoil them the best way we can, with our favorite culinary treasures. As we plan each year’s menu, we revisit recipes we made at previous feasts, such as this one for our Butternut Squash and Roasted-Garlic Bisque. A unique blend of aromatics, hearty vegetables, and rich cream, this thick soup has always been a beloved starter in our home. The first time we served it, guests asked if there was extra that they could take home, which is always a good sign and a compliment to the chefs. We know you’ll love this wonderful recipe too, and so will your guests if you decide to serve it at your next gathering.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 1 hour and 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream
  • Kosher salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub cut surfaces of garlic with oil. Put halves back together to reassemble heads. Wrap each tightly in foil; bake until tender; about 40 minutes. Cool garlic in foil.
  2. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; sauté until onions are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add squash, broth and 2 tablespoons sage. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, unwrap garlic. Squeeze from skin into small bowl. Discard skin. Mash garlic with fork until smooth.
  4. Stir garlic into soup. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Stir in 1/2 cup cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer soup to tureen. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sage.

YIELDS: 12 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

There You’ll Be

Heather with Aubrey and Carly

Heather visits the Cincinnati Zoo with two of her favorite little friends, Aubrey and Carly.

November 2011

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, November is a fun month for us. We host our annual Fall Feast, when we literally cook for days and then invite all our favorite people to gather together to share a special meal and make new memories with us. But it is also a month when we tend to reflect on and define “family,” and find new ways to celebrate the folks who have touched our hearts in so many ways.

We have both been fortunate enough to have people populate our lives who truly impacted us for the better. Some of them were relatives, like my great-grandmother Catherine, who taught me the importance of loyalty whenever she had me crawl up onto her bed so she could tell me stories about Hachi and other dogs who loved and protected their masters come what may. My great-aunt Editha, whom I met later in life at my grandfather’s funeral, had a heart as big as the ocean, and taught me to bravely see the world through the eyes of an artist, to embrace the aspects of my personality that made me unique and refuse to conform to societal norms. With their unfailing love and support, these women worked their own brand of magic, teaching me life lessons I’ve never forgotten and shaping the man I eventually became.

Yet blood ties aren’t the only ones that feed the vines of our lives as we continue to sprout and grow. Friends also play an equally important role in our life story, acting as mentors, guides, and companions along our journey. Edna, a matronly friend of Heather’s, was like an adoptive grandmother who taught her to believe in herself and to forge her own path. Sandra, Heather’s best friend’s mother, counted Heather as one of her daughters and always offered a listening ear. As for me, there were men like Al, a teacher and journalist, who taught me the power of the written word and infused me with the courage to use my voice to raise awareness and affect change, regardless of people’s personal opinions. We’d love to tell you about countless others, about friends who became family, who taught us important lessons with grace, laughter, love and respect, for each of them touched us in their own unique ways and truly live on within us, as parts of us. Undoubtedly, you have similar memories too.

The reason we share these stories with you, though, is to help you realize that even small, altruistic acts of compassion and generosity, create a ripple effect of change. One act of kindness begets another. Some refer to this as karma, the golden rule, or even paying it forward. Regardless of what you want to call it, however, if we stop and really analyze the precious moments and people in our lives, this will likely serve as impetus to do something to improve the lives of others and the world we live in.

This month is National Adoption Month, when we raise awareness about adoption and the youth in foster care. Currently, thousands of children are in the system, waiting patiently for their forever families. These kids, each beautiful in his own unique way, want desperately to belong, to have families they can trust and who love them unconditionally. Perhaps you’ve known people who have adopted, or were even adopted themselves. When my uncle John was a sheriff in California, he and his wife adopted three children, rescuing them from a nightmare situation, so I’ve witnessed firsthand what a marvelous thing adoption can be.

On the flip side, however, I also understand how badly children can suffer. If you live in Cincinnati, you may have read or watched reports about children like Damarcus Jackson or Marcus Fiesel, toddlers whose lives were snuffed out by the people who should have protected them, rather than murdered them. These stories are heartbreaking and tragic, and in many ways are more horrifying than something even Stephen King would write. That’s why we want to encourage you to open your hearts and consider adopting a child into your family. For more information, including valuable resources, financial assistance, photo listings of children currently available for adoption and more, visit AdoptUSKids.org. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption also offers great links, workbooks and other informative tools to help you build your family today.

If you can’t adopt now, there are other ways to get involved and help at-risk children. Volunteer to tutor at your local schools, and in as little as one hour per week, you can build a child’s confidence and help him excel academically. You can also mentor children through Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization we’ve supported for years via donations, and by volunteering at events, and even by having Littles of our own. Helping out doesn’t have to take much time, but it will definitely reap big rewards for both you and the child you mentor. Learn about BBBS below or watch the inspiring stories of this years Big Brother and Big Sister of the year.

These days when it appears that the world is coming apart at the seams, it may sound naïve or misguided to say that we live with hope. Yet we believe that conditions will improve, that one day we will awaken and realize that the crises now enveloping our world will be a thing of the past. But until that time, each of us has to step up and pursue change, working ordinary miracles every day. As we do, perhaps we’ll make an indelible mark in someone else’s life, so one day they too will know that no matter where they are or what they’re going through, we’ll live within their hearts, always inspiring them to live their best lives and discover their possibilities.

Live well,
Jathan & Heather

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.