Curried Squash Soup

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Today officially feels like the beginning of fall to me. Sure, the weather has been getting cooler over the past few weeks but something about today in particular feels like the seasons have officially changed.

For example, Tuesday Oct 1 is the last day of my summer CSA. There is also an autumn share that extends until Thanksgiving and I have subscribed to this for the past couple of years, but I decided to take a break this year. Around this type, the excitement that my weekly box of veggies brings begins to wane a bit. Perhaps it’s the general busyness of September. Every year I am sure that this fall will be different – slower, with more time to relax. But every September proves to be a whirl of activity. This year it was fun stuff, and I can hardly complain about the travel and back to back food festivals, but now I’m worn out. I am ready for time to relax, reflect, and enjoy all that fall has to offer. After all, the busy holiday season is just around the corner.

For me, few things say fall better than a nice warm bowl of soup on a crisp evening. And this soup is made from some of the winter squash that starts to show up this time of year. I usually make this soup with a large butternut squash, but I only got a small one in my box last week so I decided to add in an acorn squash. I am happy to report that the combination was every bit as good as the original! So feel free to use a mix of squash if you’ve got it. Then sit back, and enjoy the cool evenings and changing leaves.

Curried Squash Soup
(makes 3 main course servings with bread and salad or 6 side dishes)
Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe (which called for palm sugar and curry leaves. Who has those on hand?)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb minced fresh ginger (I grate it on a microplane, much easier than mincing)
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp salt
About 2 pounds of winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
1 Tb brown sugar
A 15 oz can low fat coconut milk

1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven or deep soup pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Then stir in garlic and ginger. Cook 2 more minutes.

2. Add bay leaves and red pepper. Cook 1 minute. Stir in squash, salt, and curry powder. Stir till squash is well coated, then cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Raise heat to medium high and add broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, stirring and mashing the squash every 5 minutes. If you have one of those old fashioned potato mashers, this is perfect, but a large spoon will also work.

4. Add the brown sugar and cook 5 minutes. Then add coconut milk and cook for 10 more minutes.

5. Remove from heat and take out the bay leaves. Then use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (or puree in batches in a blender) .