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January 2009


Butternut Squash Bisque
By Scott Miller, executive chef, Max's Oyster Bar

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 pound Rosedale Farms butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed
  • 5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste



Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the carrot and celery are soft and the onion is translucent, about five minutes. Add the squash and thyme and sauté until all the vegetables are coated with oil, about two minutes. Add the stock and the two cups of cider and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree the mixture, in small batches, in a blender on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Place the pureed mixture into another pot and stir in cream, cider and stock to achieve the desired consistency. Add the salt and black pepper. Heat gently and serve. Yields six servings.

For Garnish Ingredients
Duck Confit

  • 4 duck leg portions with thighs attached, (about 2 pounds) excess fat trimmed and reserved
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/8 teaspoon, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 4 cups olive oil


Lay the leg portions on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of kosher salt and the black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves and sprigs of thyme on each of two leg portions. Lay the remaining two leg portions, flesh to flesh, on top. Put the reserved fat from the ducks in the bottom of a glass or plastic container. Top with the sandwiched leg portions. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove duck from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and duck fat and reserve. Rinse duck with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.

Put the reserved garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and duck fat in the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot. Sprinkle evenly with peppercorns and table salt. Lay the duck on top, skin side down. Add the olive oil. Cover and bake for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

Remove the duck from the fat. Strain the fat and reserve. To store the duck confit, place the duck leg portions in a container, cover with the reserved cooking fat and store in the refrigerator. Alternately, pick the meat from the bones and place it in a stoneware container. Cover the meat with a thin layer of some of the strained fat. The duck confit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Place two ounces of warm duck confit atop each bowl of bisque. Drizzle with maple syrup and crushed gingersnap cookies.