Today was six hours of cleaning, washing dishes and clothes, going
through old clothing for donations, and some cooking. Part of the
cooking was this butternut squash soup--it's thick, sweet and creamy,
very filling, and I had the excuse that I hadn't yet tried out the new
porcelain coated cast iron pot my brother and sister in law gave me for
christmas. Obviously, I'm on a soup jag, but there are worse things.
This soup is something I started playing with since I like Caroline's
Zucchini Soup so much, the recipe is very similar. It works well
with pretty much any winter squash.
1 butternut squash
1 small onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock.
1 tsp Thyme
1 Tbs curry paste or powder. My personal favorite in this soup is
yellow thai curry paste, it goes well with the sweetness of the squash.
Cut up the onion into smallish pieces, don't worry about them being too
even since we'll blend everything anyway. Put some oil into a pot, and
put that on medium low. Add the onion, sprinkle on a little salt.
Crush the garlic cloves, throw away the hard papery shells. Chop the
garlic and add to the pot. You want to cook the garlic and onions until
they start to turn translucent. You don't really want to brown them, but
it's ok if that happens. This will take about 6-10 minutes.
Peel the outer skin off of the butternut squash. This can be a pain with
a regular peeler--it helps to use quick light strokes. Better is a
coarse narrow microplane.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise--use a long sharp knife for this. Be
careful, winter squash are pretty tough. If you hold the squash at the
narrow end with one hand, you can put the tip of the knife in the middle
with blade facing away from the hand holding the squash, cut down and
then lever the knife flat. Then you can turn the squash around, and
repeat to cut narrow end in half.
To get the seeds out, use your thumb and just squeeze the seeds loose
from the mesh in the ball end of the squash. Root around a good bit,
there are more in there than you'd expect. (The seeds are worth
saving--you can rinsh them well, dry them out, coat with oil and salt,
and roast them). Once the seeds are gone, scrape out the mesh with a
spoon, working from the narrow end down to the bottom of the ball end.
Then lay the squash halves flat side down on a cutting board and cut up
into 2" pieces. Put those into the pot and cover with broth. Add some
water if you need to, this soup is thick enough to take it.
Add 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of curry (more or less to
taste), and grate a bit of nutmeg into the soup. Nutmeg is a great spice
to buy whole, it keeps for years in a sealed bottle, and you can grate
what you need when you need it. Here's a double batch simmering:
Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.
Take off the heat. We need to blend this, just as with the zucchini
soup, so use a stick blender, blender, or food processor--but this soup
is hot, so be careful. Salt to taste. Here's the finished product: