Tomato Bisque Soup

I am a HUGE fan of tomato-basil or tomato bisque soups, and will often order them at some of my favorite restaurants. I have even tried my hand at at least 6 different recipe's, all of them sadly were "so-so" at best. Until tonight, I decided to try this one. I had a butternut squash that needed to be used up, and I remembered that this soup called for one.

When the soup was done and I took my first taste, I was in heaven! Not only was the soup the perfect flavor that I have been looking for in a home-made soup, but I now, FINALLY have a trusted recipe to use when I have that tomato bisque craving. I hope you will love this as much as we did!

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 cups cooked squash)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely diced onion (I just used half of a small onion)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) Italian -style stewed or diced tomatoes (or 1 can stewed tomatoes with 1 1 /2 teaspoons italian seasoning)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
hot sauce to taste if desired

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from each half. Place both sides cut-side down in a 9x13 inch pan. Add enough water to come about 1/4 inch up the sides of the squash. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour, or until it is fork-tender. Let cool for a few minutes, then scoop out the flesh from the skin, and plop it into a blender.

*(the squash can be cooked in advance, and cooled in a tupperware container in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.)

While the squash is cooking, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scoop the onion and garlic mixture into the blender with the squash.

Add the canned, undrained tomatoes to the blender. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan and add the chicken broth, salt, sugar, basil and cream. Stir to combine, but don't let it boil or simmer to avoid the cream from curdling. Serve immediately.

recipe adapted from www.melskitchencafe.com