Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
Toss the roasted squash seeds on top to garnish the soup. These seeds are edible.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and slimy threads. Rinse the seeds clean and dry them with a towel. Brush the exposed flesh of the squash halves with some of the oil and a bit of pepper. Put them on a foiled-lined baking sheet, cut side down; roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender.
While the squash roasts, coat the seeds with the rest of the oil and half of the cumin. Arrange the seeds on another foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Cover loosely with another piece of foil. Roast the seeds for about 10 minutes, turning them once.
Remove the squash from the oven and scoop the flesh into a soup pot. Add the chicken stock, orange zest, garlic, and the rest of the cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the mixture. Return it to the pot and add the sugar and milk. Heat it thoroughly. Toss the squash seeds on top and serve.
The weirder the bread, the better the crouton. Guests will “ooh” and “aah” when you announce that your squash bisque boasts a garnish of Irish soda bread croutons. Cornbread makes spectacular croutons, as do rye bread and pumpernickel. Toss with a few drops of oil, spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, until crisp.