I love this time of year when the winter squashes become available, because they are so versatile in cooking, see stuffed spaghetti squash, and they’re so yummy. Squash just isn’t a boring side dish.
It’s October, so I decided to make a butternut squash soup. It’s just fitting. Now, you can certainly make a pumpkin soup with this same recipe – it’s just as good – but pumpkins are much harder to peel. So I usually reach for a beautiful, rounded butternut squash for a soup. I save the ridged squashes, like acorn squash and pumpkin, for unpeeled baking.
Because we love Indian cuisine in our house, I’ve decided to make a curried squash soup. It’s not a true Indian recipe, although they do use butternut squash, but curry and squash just go together so well. No one will arrest me for making an un-authentic, Indian-inspired recipe. It’s my kitchen and I control what I do in it. No rules!
I have my lovely squash, a can of white beans, and a can of goat milk. So here’s what I did:
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
1 onion, quartered
1 rib celery, quartered (optional)
1/4 cup chicken broth powder*
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed, like great northern beans
1 – 12 ounce can goat milk**
Peel the butternut squash and trim the ends. Slice in half, carefully, and remove the seeds. Now, coarsely chop the squash and place the pieces in a large stewpot. Add the onion, celery, broth powder, and the seasonings. Add water until it just covers the squash pieces.
Place the stewpot on the stove and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. The exact time will vary depending how small or large you cut the pieces of squash. Check after 15 minutes and see if the squash is cooked through.
If you want a very creamy soup, reduce the broth in the stewpot for a little while. If you want your soup more brothy, leave it alone.
Set the pot aside and let the mixture cool. Do not ever attempt to puree hot liquids – they will explode in your kitchen and you will be cleaning splatters for hours. Not that it’s ever happened to me…. (hee hee)
Stir the drained beans into the soup. Meanwhile, have your blender handy, a ladle, and a large serving bowl for the soup. You will be pureeing the soup in at least three batches.
To the blender you will add large spoonfuls of the squash along with some beans and broth. Add about one third of the can of goat milk to the blender. Then puree, starting slowly, and with the lid on, of course. If the soup is a little stubborn, add a little more broth with your ladle, or some more goat milk – this is your choice.
Pour the soup into the serving bowl, and continue with the remaining mixture.
Personally, I prefer a thicker, creamy soup, not a thin, runny one. Adjust with your squash vs. your liquids to get the consistency you want. Also, if you don’t want to curry the soup, try it just with the cumin, or omit all of the spices and use dried thyme, which is a lovely soup herb. Or, just use salt and pepper. In your kitchen, you control the flavors you want as well as the consistency – it’s that simple.
Serve the soup with a few chopped chives, or a dollop of sour cream.
* If you don’t own chicken broth powder yet, that’s okay. Just use purchased broth in place of the water in this recipe, or use your own home-made broth if you have some on hand!
** As you probably know by now, I like to use non-dairy milks sometime in my cooking. Goat milk has that goat cheese flavor that goes so well with this soup. If you don’t want to use goat milk but still want some of that lovely flavor, you could just as easily make this soup with broth only, and then sprinkle it with goat cheese just before serving! Still yummy, and pretty! I just want you to know that, especially in something so straight forward as a soup, you can really pick and choose your ingredients. This soup would work with half-and-half, with hazelnut milk, and even coconut milk. Coconut milk would actually be so good with the curry flavor in a Thai sort of way. So just try what you want and what you have. Trust me it will work!
note: I like to use white beans in this soup just as some people like to use a potato in their home-made soups. The beans really add to the creaminess and texture, as well as adding protein and fiber. It’s a good way to sneak in a healthy legume into a dish!