Curried Coconut Butternut Squash Soup


Growing up in a Ghanaian household, my mom never fully adopted the American style of cooking. Sure we made the occasional spaghetti or meatloaf but most of the non-traditional meals we devoured were from French cookbooks my mom had used for years. I lived for my mom’s cooking, especially jollof rice and her okra stew.  My mouth is watering as I write this.  Fast forward post college and living in Brooklyn with a vegetarian roommate who managed to make non-meat entrees appetizing to my palette.   From her I discovered the joys of squash.

I hadn’t really cooked with squash until I met my old roomie and since then have cooked a multitude of dishes that I keep in rotation.  Butternut squash is one of my favorite squashes to eat.  I use it in on skillet meals as my starch but the most frequent use is in soup.  I’ve made my butternut squash soup all winter long but decided to put a Thai twist on it with some curry and coconut milk.  We hosted a childhood friend of T’s, who happens to be vegetarian.  I was making us a vegetarian pad thai so I figured why not have a curried soup as a starter.  The soup was so tasty that I had to remake it again for dinner this past weekend.


CURRIED COCONUT BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP RECIPE


INGREDIENTS
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp (12 g) curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 14-ounce (414 ml) can light coconut milk
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the butternut squash on the pan and thinly coat inside with a light drizzle of olive oil.  Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  3. While squash is roasting, in a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove squash from oven and let sit until cool to touch.  Scoop the butternut squash flesh into a blender, I use a Ninja blender, and discard the skin.
  5. Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 2 cups vegetable broth, and blend on medium until smooth. Add 2 more cups of broth until you reach the desired consistency.
  6. Transfer blended soup to large soup pot on medium heat and add coconut milk, curry powder and cinnamon and stir.  Let simmer for 10 more minutes.
  7. Use a spoon to drizzle coconut milk over each bowl and top the soup with toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.