January is here at last… whewwwww. Now all we want to do is hunker in and hover over a big bowl of soup. Soups, soups, sumptuous soups! When Mary and I discussed our first post of the new year, we agreed on a butternut squash soup but neither of us had clarity on the direction in which we wanted to take it. We were both scratching our heads when Mary said adamantly, “I’m sick to death of our smooth and creamy butternut squash soup with Calvados. Let’s switch it up big time!” Mary started musing about green curry and ginger and before I knew it, I was in her kitchen stealing this rendition for my family’s dinner. Sis, you nailed it! This version is unexpected and out of sight. Even my hubby, Erik, who detests butternut squash, likes this creation (though I had to bribe him with special favors to even get him to taste it – HA!). We’ve giggled over the past few days about our first date, when I served him the traditional butternut squash soup. He still winces talking about it. It’s a new year – try switching things up with your sweetie AND your soup!
- 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil (see note) or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger, or 3 tablespoons chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (about 6-7 cups, a scant 11/2 pounder)
- 4 cups homemade chicken broth, or one 32-ounce tetra brick container organic chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon green curry paste (Mae Ploy is the brand we prefer, but Thai Kitchen works just fine)
- 1/2 cup organic coconut milk (Native Forest puts out a really nice one)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado or brown sugar, plus more if necessary
- 1/2 lime
- cilantro and lime wedges for garnish (optional)
Place a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the coconut oil. Add the onions and the ginger. Stir in the curry powder and the salt. Cook, with an occasional stir until soft, about 5-7 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. They should smell really fabulous at this point. Add the squash. Cook for a few minutes, stirring lots to ensure that the onions don’t burn. It’s important that you get some good caramelization at the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth and the green curry paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about a half hour, stirring occasionally, or until the squash is tender. (You can cook it a bit longer if you want the soup to be “squashed,” or a little less if you want a brothier consistency with firmer bites of squash.) Finally, stir in the coconut milk, sugar and lime. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt if needed. Each butternut squash has its own unique concentration of sugars, so add more sugar if needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and or a lime wedge.
We love to serve this curry on a bed of quinoa or brown rice, but it is great as is!
Yield: about 7 cups
Note: We are big fans of coconut oil, both refined (has no coconut flavor) and unrefined (smells and tastes like coconut). Either works great in this recipe. We almost always sauté in coconut oil because it has a high burning point and does not turn into a trans fat at high temperatures. Coconut oil is said to prevent certain types of heart disease, increase immunity, aid digestion and metabolism. It is also antibacterial, anti-fungal and can fight some strains of candida.