By now you probably know that one of my favorite things to make is soup. During the winter months I am completely satisfied by a bowl of soup and a slice of hearty bread for dinner. Sometimes I’ll add in a tossed salad.
My chief taste tester (my dear husband) often feels that soup passes right through him and he feels hungry two hours later; but, I find that this type of meal fills me up without making me feel stuffed. Soup at dinner brings nourishment and comfort on a chilly winter’s evening. I tend to make most of my soups with vegetables (and not a lot of meat if any at all)
Soups can be transformed as the week goes on, so making a big pot ensures future meals. Adding a protein and rice to the soup for another meal changes up the flavor profile. The first day the soup might be chunky and the next meal it might be pureed to create a different experience. You can even add additional spices or extra stock to stretch the soup.
Soup is economical, full of nutrients for adults and kids, can be a first course or a main course, and it satisfies all palettes. I’ve chosen to use squash here because it is abundant and inexpensive in the markets right now. We have loads of butternut, buttercup, kabocha and delicata that are readily available. All of these squashes are full of Vitamins A and C and antioxidants as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, and manganese.
If you are not a fan of curry then experiment with other spices such as cumin. You can add a diced apple for sweetness as well. If you like a thicker soup then use less stock. Find a hearty loaf of bread and enjoy a soothing bowl of soup for your meal. Leftovers only make this soup better!
Coconut-Red Curry Squash Soup
Butternut’s creamy texture makes this soup silky smooth. You can also use any other hard winter squash you might have on hand.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 large stalk of celery, chopped small
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon red curry paste (or substitute 1/2 tablespoon curry powder)
8 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (or any other hard winter squash)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup peeled baking potato
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 can light coconut milk (13.5 oz can)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro or parsley
(Optional: Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds)
Heat oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, celery and curry paste; cook until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add the cubed squash, potato, stock, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on medium until squash is very tender. Stir occasionally so that the squash does not burn.
Place half of squash mixture in a blender. ***IMPORTANT: This is hot liquid so remember to remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape)*** Secure blender lid on blender and place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture. Return to soup pot. Stir in juice and coconut milk. Gently bring up to temperature Sprinkle bowls of soup with cilantro and/or parsley when ready to serve. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) if you want some crunch.
— Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at email@example.com.