I truly love chowder, but only if it’s made according to New England traditions. That means no muddling the flavor with spices that many professional chefs think enhances the creamy, milky flavor of our old standby. I have seen television chefs add cardamom, dill, Italian seasonings and even nutmeg to their chowders, which is so inherently idiotic I can’t fathom ruining the pure flavor by these additions. The same holds true for Bisques. Bisques should be creamy in texture and simple in flavor. Whatever the main ingredient is, or are, is what the bisque should taste like. Here I add squash not only for color, but the taste goes perfectly with scallops and dairy. Why did I start this recipe out talking about chowder? Because if you notice, the only difference between this recipe and chowder is the absence of potato. Go ahead, add potatoes to the bisque, it will be perfectly…..perfect!
Silky Scallop-Winter Squash Bisque in Bread
You can buy a variety of round breads(Boules) in any supermarket now. Choose a crusty, hard bread for this recipe. And as the bisque begins to empty out of the “bowl”, invite your family or friends to tear off a hunk for their bowl of bisque.
1 round bread loaf
1 strip bacon, diced small
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups small diced butternut or buttercup squash
1 pound bay scallops
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups light cream, half-and-half or milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
On a sturdy work surface, take a serrated steak knife and score a circle in the top of the round loaf of bread, at least large enough for a ladle to dip out the bisque with. Remove this lid and, with your fingers, scoop out interior bread, leaving at least 1 inch all around the sides and bottom; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add bacon and onions. Cook over medium-high heat until bacon has rendered all its fat and begins to crisp. Add the squash and cook 4-5 minutes until squash is almost tender, stirring frequently. Add the scallops and continue cooking until the scallops are just done, about 2-3 minutes longer. In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons butter in microwave. Whisk flour into melted butter until smooth; set aside.
Add cream to scallop mixture, stir to combine and bring up to scalding, stirring almost constantly. Add the butter/flour mixture and stir well until combined and cook until thickened, another minute. Remove from heat, season to taste and ladle into bread bowl. Serve as is, with bread lid on.