Soups and stews are a mainstay of our fall menu, for a bunch of great reasons. They’re hot and soothing—perfect for blustery days when staying warm is a harder than a snowman in an ice storm. It’s easy to incorporate specialty spices and herbs into soups, for a flavor-packed lunch or dinner. We can ladle a heaping portion into a bowl for a one-dish meal, or spoon out a petite serving to accompany a sandwich, bread and cheese, or even pasta. And it’s simple to double or even triple most soup recipes, and freeze it in batches for weeknights when be just don’t have the time or energy to cook. This recipe for Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup ticks off all of those boxes, and it’s a powerhouse of antioxidant-rich, seasonal veggies to boot.
Curry, as it turns out, is a genius addition to butternut squash. Not only does it add a zesty hit of spice to an inherently sweet food, but it also gives the soup an extra-warming quality that we’ll be craving all winter long. Use the measurements here for curry and cayenne as a base, taste, then add more if you like it caliente. If you prefer your soup on the sweeter side, don’t skip the curry; instead, leave out the cayenne, and add a peeled, cored, and quartered pear to the broth mixture about 5 minutes before emulsifying in the blender or food processor. You can even make this soup for vegetarians or vegans, simply by using vegetable instead of chicken broth, and subbing coconut milk for the half-and-half.
Enough talk. Let’s get to eating part.
Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe by Kristina Canfield
Makes 4 servings
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 to 3 dashes cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half or coconut milk
Pumpkin oil (optional)
Toasted pine nuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash lengthwise, place it on a baking sheet, flesh side up, spray or brush the flesh lightly with olive oil, and bake for 45 minutes, or until soft and bubbly. Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool. When cool, scrape the flesh from the skin.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, being careful not to allow the garlic to burn.
3. Add the broth, bay leaf, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the broth mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Remove the bay leaf.
4. In a food processor or blender, combine half of the cooked squash with half of the broth mixture. Process on high until it reaches a baby food–like consistency. Slowly add half of the half-and-half to thin. Pour the squash soup into a saucepan, and repeat this step with the second half of squash, broth, and cream.
5. Pour the second half of the squash soup into the pan with the first half and stir to combine. Heat over low until warmed through. Add more salt and pepper, if desired, and garnish with a swirl of pumpkin oil and a handful of toasted pine nuts.