A New Bisque for The Cold Season

SKIP TO RECIPE
By Brandon Muhawi
Writer for Pro Home Cooks

As the sun sets sooner and the evenings grow cooler, soup season enters in full swing. It is simply magical – throw your favorite ingredients in a pot for a short while and out comes a cozy bowl of goodness that has no business being as delicious as it is.

There will always be room for the classics – chicken noodle, tomato, minestrone, pho, etc. However, soup is a great canvas to play around with flavors. Because soups often have a more homogenized texture, it’s easier to focus solely on how flavors pair together rather than worry about how cohesive an entire dish is. 

This kabocha and kimchi bisque is a great example of toying with flavors and it’s incredibly easy to make. Creamy gourd bisques are nothing revolutionary this time of year, but the cold season also lends itself to delicious slow-fermented foods like kimchi. To many people, kimchi is nothing more than a cold condiment or side dish. However, kimchi is delicious when cooked, and kimchi stews (like kimchi jjigae) are very common in Korean cuisine. It’s a great shortcut to add a ton of flavor to any dish, and the bright, tangy, spicy ferment is a welcome addition to what is normally a sweet and heavy soup.

Kabocha and Kimchi Bisque

My favorite part of creamy soups like these is what goes on top. Toppings are a great way to make a bisque more than a just steaming bowl of monotonous texture. For this soup, I’d start with a drizzle of olive oil or toasted sesame oil. Textured toppings are great, such as croutons, seeds, or fried shallots. A little something cool and creamy would be perfect to add some luxury, like a Mexican crema or full-fat yogurt, and if you’d like some vibrance, reach for some fresh herbs or scallions. 

This bisque is super easy and comes together all in one pot. Perfect for your busy weekday! It is low-effort, high-reward. Serve it next to a bright and hearty salad or turn it into a meal all on its own with some crusty bread or a scallion pancake. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 1 leek
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups water
  • 1.5 cups whole milk (or dairy alternative)
  • 1/2 cup leftover rice (or another thickening agent) *
  • 1/2 cup kimchi
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Feel free to use your preferred method of thickening a soup. Cooked rice, stale bread, or starchy potatoes are all great ways to make your bisque even creamier. Use what you have!

Cubed up kabocha in a pot

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel and seed the kabocha. Cut the kabocha into ~1-inch chunks. Place prepared kabocha into a large oven-safe pot (a dutch oven is perfect). Coat kabocha with olive oil and season with salt. Place the pot into the oven and roast the kabocha until slightly brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  2. Finely dice the leek. Remove the pot from the oven and place it on the stove over low heat. Add the butter and leek to the pot and sauté until the leek is translucent and tender. 
  3. Add water, milk, and leftover rice to the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add kimchi and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the bisque until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (If you’d like your bisque to have more umami, add a little MSG, fish sauce, soy sauce, etc.) Adjust consistency with additional water or milk.
  5. Serve and garnish with whatever you’d like!
By Brandon Muhawi
Brandon loves to play around with bridging the gap between food cultures, using the elements of the foods he loves most to create something new. You can find some of those creations here.
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