Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Tis' the season for warm and comforting soups and with a bounty of inexpensive winter squash at the grocery store and farmers' market, I offer up yet another recipe for butternut squash soup. Although I've been the recipient of a plethora of winter squash in my CSA box, I haven't tired of it yet and been delighting in its ability to blend with Asian flavors, as in Thai Red Curry Squash Soup. With this soup I took a little journey to another part of Asia, melding smooth, sweet butternut squash with fragrant, exotic curry spices. Although certainly not redolent of my childhood, the beautiful melange of spices is extremely comforting and quite welcome in the deep cold of winter. For adventurous palates you may want to add even more curry powder, conversely reducing it for children or flavor-phobes, using this soup as a subtle way to introduce a new suite of potent spices. This soup is healthy, hearty, and bursting with flavor, and rounded out perfectly with a piece of naan for dunking. Hopefully this simple-to-prepare soup will find a place on your winter table next to more traditional American fare and transport you, if even only for a few minutes, to a sunny and beautiful land far away.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
adapted just slightly from Ellie Krieger, via Food Network
serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, plus additional broth or water, as needed
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
4 teaspoons plain low-fat yogurt, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash, broth, curry powder and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat stir in honey and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Add additional broth or water, as needed, to achieve desired consistency. Add lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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