Home cooking: Roasted butternut squash bisque with sage and chili-toasted cashews

November 13, 2012

Alisha Hanlin, 27, has worked in worked in several area restaurants. This year, she started her own food-related business.

“I work at Safron Bakery (east of Hagerstown) for Albert Elmerraji,” she said. “I started Pressed Flour as a business in September. My goods are available in Shepherdstown at the Blue Moon Café and at Hypnocoffee. I also do custom cake, cupcake, pie, and pastry platter orders at the retail level, from weddings to baby showers to just because.”

Hanlin said she will soon launch a web page for Press Flour. The address will be

She shared this seasonal soup recipe with Herald-Mail readers. Butternut squashes are available now at farmers markets and at grocery stores.

Roasted butternut squash bisque with sage and chili-toasted cashews

1 large butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
4 small heads shallot
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried sage

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Halve the squash down the center, empty out the seeds, brush with oil, and lay face down on a baking sheet.

Clean shallots and garlic. Leave whole. Place the squash, shallot, and garlic in the oven. Bake the squash until soft and scoopable (about 1 hour) and the shallots and garlic an hour to an hour and a half, until perfectly soft.

Scoop the flesh from the squash with a spoon. Place squash flesh, peeled garlic and shallots in a stockpot over medium heat. Add wine and stir well.

Scald the cream, milk and stock in a smaller saucepan, and add slowly, stirring well. Use an immersion blender to purée mixture until perfectly smooth, and season with salt and pepper. Keep at a very low simmer.

Heat another pan to medium-low heat on the stovetop. Toss cashews in a mixing bowl with oil, chili powder, sage and a pinch of salt. Add to warmed pan, stirring constantly and watching closely. Cashews are done after a few minutes of cooking when they have developed color and smell nutty. Transfer to a room temperature pan and allow to cool. Once cooled, Place in a sealed sandwich bag and break apart with something like a soup can or meat tenderizer, or chop well on a cutting board.

To serve, sprinkle each cup of soup with about a heaping tablespoon of cashews. For a thinner or lower-fat bisque, light cream may be used in place of heavy cream.

Serves 10 to 12.

— Courtesy of Alisha Hanlin of Pressed Flour in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Contact her at

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