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By SAM SIFTON
Published: October 26, 2011
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 teaspoon thinly sliced ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
4 slices double-smoked bacon, or best available
1⁄4 cup dry vermouth
2 tablespoons cognac
2/3 cup tomato juice
6 cups lobster stock, shrimp stock, clam stock or fish stock
1 pod star anise
6 pods green cardamom
1⁄2 cup tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/8 tablespoon cayenne pepper, orto taste
1⁄4 cup roasted pumpkinseeds.
1. In a large saucepan set overmedium heat, melt the butter until it foams. Add the squash, fennel, ginger and garlic and cook slowly until soft, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, then cook for 5 or 6 minutes to incorporate.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pan set over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain over paper towels. Reserve.
3. Add the vermouth andcognac to deglaze the first pan, and reduce the liquids until the pan is almost dry. Add the tomato juice and reduce it by half, approximately 3 minutes. Add the stock, anise and cardamom and simmer until it has reduced by roughly half, about 30 minutes. When the bisque has reduced, remove from heat and stir in the tarragon. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Whisk in the crème fraîche, then strain bisque through a fine-meshed sieve or chinois.
4. Season with salt, lime juice and cayenne. Serve immediately with aslice of crisp bacon over the top, and a sprinkle of pumpkinseeds. Serves4.
Adapted from Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York.