It is a cold and rainy day here in
for this delicious Harvest Bisque! Topeka
However, before I share this recipe, I want to tell you a little story. November 11 is a special day for The Picky Eater (my husband, Michael) and me. Not only do we honor those veterans who have done so much for our country, but this is also the day when we met two years ago.
Michael and I connected on Match.com. I had only been living in
for a few months after
almost 20 years in Kansas New England. I signed up for the
dating website to meet new people, discover more about my new state and city,
and to have some fun. I wasn’t really looking for romance—honestly! But if
something happened, well…
After exchanging emails and phone calls, we set up a date for Thursday, November 11. We met for the first time in the parking lot of a local grocery store. Seven months later, Michael proposed to me in the same parking lot.
Our first date was at Prairie Band Casino. I was excited to go there, not to gamble, but because I heard the food was great! :) We decided to go to the Longhouse Buffet. Since it was Veterans Day, they were offering free meals to all veterans, so the line was very long. As we approached the front of the line, a single middle-aged veteran asked, “Since it’s so busy, would you like to share a table with me?”
I thought Michael would say no since it was a first date. But instead, he accepted! So our first dinner together was shared by Floyd the Veteran, a very nice man who spent the entire meal telling us all about his wife and stepson, who was a handful.
At one point during dinner, as Floyd was talking about all of his stepson’s legal issues, I put my hand on Michael’s arm. It was like magic! We looked into each other’s eyes for just a moment, and a warmth and electricity filled my heart.
Now we celebrate this day each year. Even though we will celebrate our wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, this day is our own special day when we remember meeting and falling in love.
So, what does this story have to do with Harvest Bisque? Nothing really, except for the fact that because of that first date I now am able to cook a wonderful, flavorful autumn soup on a cold November day in the warmth of our small apartment home in downtown
I have never been more happy or more in love.
Now, for the bisque: I got this recipe from the chef of a
restaurant that closed when he moved on to
teach new chefs at a local college. I love the combination of corn and squash
flavors in the soup. You can use any type of squash you wish (acorn, Hubbard,
or butternut), but I use pumpkin puree since it is easy to find this time of
year. Just be sure to not buy the pumpkin pie mix instead! New
Serves 8 to 10
6 slices of bacon (or substitute 4 tablespoons butter)1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken stock (or water)
2 cans (14 3/4 ounces each) creamed corn
1 12-ounce package frozen corn kernels
15 ounces winter squash puree (pumpkin, butternut, acorn, Hubbard, etc)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 cups half and half (or heavy cream, for more richness)
In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and it is crispy and browned. Remove the bacon and save as a garnish, if desired. If substituting butter, simply melt it until it begins to bubble.
To the bacon fat, add the onion and fry until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except for the half and half. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until the potatoes are cooked. Add the half and half and adjust the seasonings. Serve as is, or puree with a hand blender for a smoother consistency. Top with bits, if desired.
This soup freezes well. Just be sure to not add the half and half or cream before you freeze it, but wait to add it when you are ready to serve.