I had the privilege of dining at Disneyland’s Club 33 restaurant several years ago. I was so excited at the opportunity to dine at the exclusive private club, I wouldn’t have cared if the food was horrible. Luckily the food was as amazing as the experience.
As a starter I had their butternut squash bisque. I can’t even begin to describe what that was like. It was an other-worldly experience. It was heavenly. It was a perfect blend of savory and sweet and creamy. I was so taken with this soup that I have spent the past seven years thinking about it, trying every store brand version, searching through pages and pages of web search results trying to find a hack recipe, and thumbing through every Disney cookbook hoping against hope that the Disney powers-that-be would gift the world with this delectable recipe. But alas, I have found nothing.
So, with no luck in finding the actual recipe (or a close facsimile), I decided to try to recreate it on my own. I scoured pages and pages of butternut squash soup recipes, tried dozens and dozens of test recipes, and been met with failure after failure. My memory of that divine concoction will have to stay a memory….for now.
But along the way I did come up with a pretty yummy version. It’s one of the best failures I’ve ever created. It’s not Club 33 bisque, but it’s a really tasty alternative. Because this is a single girl recipe, the quantities are small. This recipe yields one big bowl of soup, or two modest cups of soup. Here’s how I made it…
Start by placing the chopped squash, carrots, and onions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
Add the apple to the baking sheet and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes. Some of the onions may get a little dark, but I like that smoky roasted flavor.
Add the can of vegetable broth to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the roasted veggies and apples to the broth.
Using an immersion blender (I like the Kalorik Sunny Morning blender) begin turning the veggies and broth into a puree.
It will look very thick. And that’s OK.
Add the half-and-half and mix until combined. (If you like living on the caloric edge, you could use heavy cream here. Or, if you’re a vegan, you can use almond milk.)
Add the pumpkin pie spice and mix.
You might be saying, “What? Pumpkin pie spice in a savory soup?” My answer is – sure! In my years and years of pursuing the holy grail of butternut squash bisque, I found that most recipes called for either nutmeg or ginger or cinnamon or cloves. And guess what’s in pumpkin pie spice? Nutmeg and ginger and cinnamon and cloves. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use your own combination of the spices. But be sparing…a little spice goes a long way with this size recipe. You can always add more, but it’s really hard to pick it out if you add too much.
If the soup is still too thick (which it probably will be), add water and continue blending until it reaches your preferred soup consistency.
Top with sour cream, or unflavored greek yogurt and some chives. Then curl up next to a roaring fire with your favorite chick flick on Netflix and enjoy the season.
Here’s the complete recipe. Enjoy!
1 generous cup cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 apple, chopped
1 can vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Sour cream and chives for topping (optional)
1) Place squash, carrots, and onions on parchment-lined baking sheet and roast on 375 for 30 minutes.
2) After roasting 30 minutes, add apples to baking sheet and continue roasting another 30 minutes.
3) In a medium sauce pan, add can of broth and roasted vegetables. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
4) Add cream and spice, and mix again. If soup is too thick, add water until soup reaches desired consistency.
5) Taste for spices and add any additional spices or cream as necessary. Serve with a topping of sour cream and chives.