It's snowing (again) and I'm in the mood for soup. I first started experimenting with this recipe for curried butternut squash soup a couple of weeks ago, when a ferocious blizzard buried us in 26 inches of snow. The roads were awful and my car looked like an igloo, so I made do with the rather limited supplies I had: butternut squash, an apple, onion parsnips and a load of pecans we had just picked up in Alabama driving home from Florida.
The first time I made this soup I used chicken broth and some cream, but when my vegan sister-in-law visited last week I left out the cream and substituted vegetable broth -- and the soup actually tasted better! The toasted pecans add a nice crunch and if you're looking for a touch of something creamy (and you're not vegan) garnish with a dollop of sour cream or, better yet, Boursin cheese.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
2 smallish butternut squash, about 4 lbs. total
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 parsnips, diced
1 granny smith apple, diced
4 tablespoons curry
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
6 cups or more vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped for garnish
Sour cream or Boursin cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Peel, de-seed and chop butternut squash into one-inch cubes. Place squash in large bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add salt and pepper, and toss to coat squash. Spread squash on rimmed backing sheet and bake for about 45 minutes until easily pierced with a fork and slightly browned.
2. In large pot, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, parsnips and apple and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix in curry, cumin and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring now and then, an additional minute. Add cooked squash and vegetable broth to the pot, mix and then bring to boil. Low heat to simmer and let cook at least 10 minutes.
3. Using an immursion blender (or regular blender in batches) puree soup. Depending on your taste, you can leave the soup a bit chunky or puree smooth. (You may need to add additional broth or water if soup is too thick.) For an ultra smooth texture, strain puree. Add additional salt and/or pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with chopped, toasted pecans and/or a dollop of Bousin cheese or sour cream.