Butternut Squash Bisque

Creamy and supremely satisfying, this butternut squash-based soup is spiced with cinnamon, cayenne and thyme.

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
2½ cups chicken stock
1 cup half & half
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh silver thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Method:
1. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Working in batches, purée in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt. Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne, if desired.

d store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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Fennel Blossom Soup

This vibrant soup courtesy of The Splendid Table highlights the sweet, grassy flavors of fresh fennel.

Ingredients:
3 cups fennel, diced
2 cups leeks, sliced, white part only
2 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons fennel blossoms, plus additional for garnish
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Cook the leek in the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the leek wilts. Add the fennel bulb and chicken broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the fennel blossoms

2. Purée the soup in two batches in a blender until very smooth. Be very careful when doing this – fill the blender no more than half full so that the hot soup does not splash out, and pulse it in quick spurts before switching it on continuously. Pour it back into the saucepan and reheat it until it simmers. Taste the soup, season with pepper, and add salt as needed. Serve hot or chilled, garnished with a small pinch of fennel flowers.

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Roasted Pumpkin & Pear Soup

The classic fall soup gets a delightful new twist with sweet roasted pears.

Ingredients:
1 pumpkin, cut into thick slices
2 ripe pears, peeled and cored
3 Cipollini onions, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Cut pumpkin into thick slices, removing seeds and stringy loose flesh inside. (Reserve seeds for roasting, if desired). Cut the pears in half, peel and core.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin and pears on top. Bake in a preheated 375° oven until both the pears and pumpkin are fork tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes for the pears and 45 minutes for the pumpkin. Allow to cool and scoop out the pumpkin flesh, keeping 4 cups for the soup and reserving rest for another use. Chop pears coarsely.

3. In a heavy soup pot heat the butter and add the onions. Cook over medium low heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown.

4. Add the garlic and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and pears and about 4 cups of broth. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.

5. Blend, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding additional broth if soup is too thick.

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Riso Nerone-Stuffed Peppers

Mixed with parsley and golden raisins, this earthy Italian rice is the perfect compliment to garden-fresh peppers.

Ingredients:
1½ cups Riso Nerone black rice
2-4 sweet peppers of your choice
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup golden raisins
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Sauté onions and garlic in 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Once onions are softened, add rice and toast for about a minute, then add in bay leaf and chicken broth. Simmer, partially covered for about 25 minutes, or until all broth has been absorbed.

2. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 400°. Wash peppers, cut off tops and remove seeds.

3. Mix chopped parsley and raisins into rice; season with salt and pepper as needed. Stuff each pepper with rice mixture and brush tops with olive oil.

4. Bake for 20 minutes until peppers are slightly charred.

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