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Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque

Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque #12WeeksofWinterSquash #soup
The Food Truck sensation is sweeping the nation, and photographers Phil Shen and Kim Pham have a backstage pass. They stumbled sort of accidentally into the place they were meant to be after moving to Portland, Oregon in 2009. Between sporadic photo jobs, they began exploring the food pods around town (my PDX friend Bea tells me about these all the time), and were smitten.

They'd spend their weekends exploring and tasting, and in the midst of it all, took notice of the chefs, owners, and people who ran these tiny little kitchens. They wanted to know their stories. Thus, the idea of their food blog was born; a combination of their love for food and photography. They teamed up with Terri Phillips, a writer, and began to delve deeper into the food pods, food carts, and food trucks vying for a spot on the busy streets. Behind the Food Carts is their (very successful) vehicle for sharing these people's stories through words and photographs. Their passion led to being named Saveur magazine's Best Culinary Travel Blog in 2013, and now this inspiring and delicious cookbook.

"Each chapter kicks off with an introduction by Phil and a full food truck story by Terri, and each recipe features a personal tidbit or anecdote from the contributor. These recipes are not "inspired by" or "based on" the menus of the food trucks featured; they're direct from the chefs themselves. You may not be able to travel to Love Balls Bus in Austin, Texas for Garlic Yaki Onigiri, but you can sear some up in your home kitchen and taste Chef Gabe Rothschild's drive and dedication for yourself."

From the beautiful photographs of the food, the people, and the trucks to the stories and tidbits, there's all sorts of things to love about this cookbook. But, let's start here with this recipe from Adam Dunn and Colleen Schroht of Savor Soup House in Portland, Oregon. Dunn says this soup "...can be made relatively quickly, and it's a great way to relax and warm up." The photo in the book showed it served it mason jars. I loved the look and wanted to serve it the same way—and I'm happy that I did. This bisque is thick without being baby-food-esque (which I can't stomach). It's complex from the addition of apple butter and citrus. The addition of cream gives it a luscious, silky finish. And since it's smooth, it was perfect for drinking (really, a spoon seems pointless to me in a soup like this).

I can see ladling the hot soup into pint-sized mason jars (as shown), screwing on a lid, slipping it into a cozy, and warming up with it while tailgating. And though the recipe didn't call for it, I toasted the seeds of the squash like they did in the photo, too. I love the texture contast...taking a moment to chew every now and again.

Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
Rich, creamy butternut squash is brightened up by sweet apple butter and citrus zest in this comforting, silky soup.
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Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
from Food Truck Road Trip by Kim Pham, Philip Shen, Terri Phillips printed with permission of Page St. Publishing
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes (largely unattended)
Keywords: roast simmer soup/stew vegetarian soy-free nut-free apples squash American fall winter

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • olive oil, for coating
  • water
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons (56 g) butter
  • 1-1/2 quarts (1420 ml) vegetable stock
  • 8 ounces (227 g) apple butter
  • 1/4 cup (61 g) heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon (25 g) packed brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  • zest and juice of 1 orange, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C, or gas mark 5). Halve and seed the butternut squash and place skin-side up on a baking pan. Coat the squash lightly with olive oil, add a dash of water to the pan and bake for 45 minutes; this helps separate the skin of the squash for easy peeling.

Sauté the diced onion in the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the vegetable stock and apple butter and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the squash is done, scoop out the flesh and add it to a blender along with the onion mixture, cream, sugar, lemon and orange zests, salt and pepper. Add the lemon and orange juices to taste. Blend until all the ingredients are thoroughly smooth.

my notes:
I used the juice of the entire orange, but only half of the lemon. I used white pepper. I scooped the roasted squash from its skin and put it directly into the pan, then used an immersion blender to puree everything (saved me washing a blender and doing it in batches). I didn't add the cream until after I did this, brought it back to a boil for 5 minutes or so, then lowered the heat.

The original recipe says that it serves 5, but I got a good 3 quarts out of it (my squash was pretty darn large).

I wound up using more cream to finish my bisque than was in the recipe, probably an extra 1/2 cup. I wanted my bisque to be lighter in color than it was (could be due to my very large squash).

I also cleaned the seeds that I pulled out of the squash, then tossed them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper; I spread them on a baking sheet and into the oven after I pulled the squash out. It took about 8-10 minutes at the same temperature, stirring once through, to get them crisp and toasty. They made an awesome garnish.
Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque #12WeeksofWinterSquash #soup
Food Truck Road Trip blog tour and giveaway

Food Truck Road Trip
authors: Kim Pham & Philip Shen with Terri Phillips
publisher: Page Street Publishing
photos: yes
soft cover: 240 pages

chapters/sections: American Comfort: Classics with a Twist | Pick It Up: Sandwiches | Spoonfuls: Soups and Chilies | No Meat, No Problem: Vegetarian | Food with Flair: Latin American | Keepin' It Real: Asian | Best of Both Worlds: Fusion | Give Me More: Sides | Sip, Sip, Sip: Drinks | Sweet Tooth: Dessert | Lick It: Pops | Punch It Up: Sauces

fun features: Each recipe has an introduction that tells "why". I like to know the why behind the food.

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Bourbon Pecan Pancakes with Ginger Stout Syrup (vegan), Prosciutto and Grape Pizza, Spiced Spareribs with Chimichurri Sauce, Bacon-Wrapped Hawaiian Terrier-Ki Dog, Traditional Swabian Soft Pretzels, G-Parm Tots, Butter Mochi Cake with Salted Coconut Cream, Peanut Butterlicious (ice pop), Butternut Squash Mustard

about the authors: Kim Pham and Phil Shen are the creators of, which was named Best Culinary Travel Blog by Saveur magazine. They live in San Jose, California.

Terri Phillips is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland, Oregon.

connect with Behind the Food Carts: facebook | google+ | instagram | pinterest | twitter | youtube

recipe(s) I have already tried: Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque

Would you like to win a copy of Food Truck Road Trip? Page Stree Publishing has offered up a copy for one of my readers in either the US or Canada to do just that!

For your chance to win, simply tell me something about a Food Truck, Food Pod, or Food Cart in the comments section below. It can be the name of your favorite, the best food you've ever eaten from one, one you'd love to visit—anything related!

After commenting, be sure to record your entry in the rafflecopter widget below. More ways to enter are also available (not mandatory, just gives you better odds).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 30, 2014. One winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email within 48 hours of the close of this contest, and given 24 hours in which to respond. If no response is received within that time frame, a new winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified.

I received a free copy of this cookbook. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are my own.

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