As of late, I have been having a bit of a love affair with Indian food.
While I would adore ordering takeout every night, my waistline and bank account demand otherwise, so I’ve been experimenting with my own concoctions—curries, rajma, korma, tikka masala, chickpeas. (Side note: Anyone have a great recipe for naan bread?)
So when it came time for my next Old Farmer’s Almanac blog post, it didn’t come as much of a surprise (well, to me, anyway) that I gravitated toward Curried Butternut Squash Soup from the Almanac’s Comfort Food cookbook. This is a recipe that teased some of the Indian flavors that I’ve been playing with and enjoying over the last little while.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup, when made in the fall or winter, is the best kind of comfort food: seasonal and hearty, with the ability to warm you up from the inside out. With the roasting of the squash and caramelizing of the onions, it is a bit of a time commitment to prepare (all told, this recipe took me a little under 2 hours to finish … but remember, I was also photographing!), but it’s worth it, especially on a weekend evening with the sky darkening and maybe the sound of the rain on the roof.
I will admit to one recipe revision that you might want to consider: Instead of cream, I used unsweetened coconut milk, which, I thought, enhanced the curry flavor and, as a nice side benefit, cut fat and calories. No need to worry about the soup not being thick enough! I didn’t use the apple butter, but instead served the soup mixed with some fragrant Basmati rice. Absolutely delicious!
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups halved and thinly sliced onion
2½ cups chicken stock, divided
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons curry powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup apple butter, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Halve the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place it on an oiled, rimmed baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the squash can be pierced easily with a paring knife. Transfer the sheet to a rack and turn the squash over to cool.
The squash hot out of the oven. I chose to cut my halves in half to make them a little easier to work with.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden and caramelized. If the onions become dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed.
Transfer the onions to a food processor. Scoop the squash out of the skins and add to the processor with 1 cup of the chicken stock. Process until smooth.
Scooped squash ready to be added to the carmelized onions.
Transfer the onion–squash mixture to a large saucepan. Add the remaining 1½ cups of stock, half-and-half, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring often (do not boil).
Onion/squash mixture, stock, brown sugar, and (coconut) milk…just waiting for the rest of the spices.
Ladle ½ cup of soup into a small bowl and add the curry powder.
And here they are!
Stir to blend, then return it to the soup. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes more, adding salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot, passing the apple butter at the table.
Makes 6 servings.
The final soup. Delicious, simple, and a great meal to ease a fall or winter's chill.
Want more delicious baking or anytime ideas? Get your copy of the Comfort Food Cookbook today!
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