Curried Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
It’s soup season again! Which, hopefully, means that I will be back at the soup blog more regularly. I have, in fact, made a number of soups recently, and I have a super easy one simmering in the crock pot now.
This one, however, I made about a month and a half ago, and it’s a little bit of a stretch for me to remember what I did for it. I do remember that it was delicious (even my 9 month old gobbled it down!) and that I wanted to make a record of it. I used this recipe as my base, but I wanted to add more depth of flavor as my Cook’s Illustrated for that month had indicated (no link, but I’ll describe it), and I also wanted to add coconut milk … because anything with curry tastes better with coconut.
The basic idea for deepening the flavor of the squash is that instead of sauteeing it or simmering it, as many recipes call for, or roasting it, which is time-consuming and a little messy (and heats up your house, and I made this at a time when that was more of a consideration), you are going to treat the squash just like you treat the onions for French Onion soup. In other words, you’ll cook them in a little oil or butter over medium to medium-high heat and let them get really deeply browned. Don’t worry if you get lots of brown chunks stuck to the bottom of your pan — there’s a technical term for the brown bits, the “frond,” and that’s where the flavor is getting developed. So, to start this recipe, cut your butternut squash into 1-1 1/2″ cubes and start sauteeing in olive oil. Let the side that’s cooking get nice and brown, and then give the pan a good scrape (you might want to add a little water to get the chunks up – this is called “deglazing”), and then let it brown again (the water should evaporate quickly). Do this for a while until your squash is pretty well cooked and you’ve got a deep brown bunch of squash gunk in the bottom of the pan (Cook’s Illustrated said this a lot more eloquently than I just did, but that’s really what they meant).
Then add your onions and garlic, let them saute until soft but not browned. Then add your curry powder and stir it around for a minute or so, until it’s fragrant. Then add your coconut milk and chicken broth, salt and honey, and let it simmer – give it at least 15 minutes, but this is really flexible, so you can simmer it over low heat for quite a while if need be. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in your blender.
We ate it with brown rice and some chopped cashews on top.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (light is fine)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons curry powder (or more, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 teaspoons plain low-fat yogurt, for garnish
Heat oil over medium heat in a 6-quart stockpot. Add butternut squash and cook until deeply browned, as described above. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the broth, coconut milk, curry powder and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat stir in honey and puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.