Saturday, February 21, 2009

Roasted Curry Butternut Squash Soup

I've never met a soup that didn't taste better the next day. That is also true with this soup. It's not that it tasted bad last night, but it just wasn't moving me. However, when I re-heated it for lunch today, I was feeling a little more love for it. I still don't think it's exactly what I'm going for, but it was pretty good. I'll have to try another recipe before soup season is over and see if I can find one that really knocks my socks off.
I had made a similar soup a couple of months ago, and had ranted for a bit about the peeling of butternut squash. Well, I found a way around that - roasting the squash. If you cut it in half, and lay it on a pan, you eliminate the need for peeling! The downside is that it takes longer to cook, then you have to scoop the squash out after it's cooked and cooled down a bit. This can also be a little messy, especially if you're me and have a knack for making messes. I'm noticing a bit of dried up squash on my keyboard right now. This is what happens when you use your laptop as a cookbook.
The upside is that I think roasting the squash gives it a slightly richer flavor. Also you only need to cut the onions in quarters and the garlic doesn't need to be chopped at all because you roast those too. Another benefit is that you can put the squash in the oven and hop on your bike trainer for an hour while it cooks. This was my intention last night anyway, but got distracted by Facebooking, IMing, and other very crucial things. It was Friday night, after all. If I'm not going out to socialize, at least I can do a little internetalizing.
I think this soup is worth a try. I fed it to some very hungry cyclists today, post-ride, and they seemed to like it. Although, they were probably just happy to eat something that was warm and not having to be made by them!

Roasted Curry Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
2 onions, peeled and quartered
1 small to medium head of garlic
6 cups of veggie broth (preferably a non-tomato based one)
1 bay leaf
1 tspn brown sugar
1 tspn mild curry powder
1/2 tspn dried oregano
1/2 tspn dried cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the squash halves and quartered onion on the baking sheet. ( I started with the squash pulp side down, then turned it half way). Wrap the head of garlic in foil and place that on the sheet as well.
2. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until squash is tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Put the broth in a soup pan and bring to a simmer.
3a. If you have an immersion blender (like I do, yeay!) you can scoop all the the squash out of it's skin and add it right with the broth, then squeeze each garlic clove out if it's skin and put that in there as well. Then add the onion, bay leaf, brown sugar, oregano, cinnamon, curry powder, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, then puree with the immersion blender.
3b. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can either borrow mine, or follow this step: Scoop the flesh from the squash right into a blender or food processor along with the garlic paste (squeeze each clove from it's skin). Add a little broth and puree. Add to the broth in the soup pot along with all the spices, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
4. If you want a creamy soup, you can turn off the heat and add a cup of plain yogurt. I just added a spoonful in the bowl as I ate it. It doesn't need it, but it makes it a bit more mild and creamy, so it's just personal preference.

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