Last year, when I was making my favorite soups, I knew that I wanted to give you this recipe. I just remade myself a batch, and I have to say that the kitchen aroma was almost enough to sell me on this recipe. The aroma of the dry sauted curry is heavenly. And of course, the soup isn’t bad itself.
When I knew I would be giving you this soup, I wrote Caprial Pense and asked permission to republish the recipe. I don’t want to just give you URLs to the recipe and make you find it. Caprial gave me permission, and so the whole recipe is as follows:
Curry Winter Squash Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) mirin wine or sweet cooking wine
- 4 lbs. winter squash, peeled and diced **
- 3 cups (24 fl. oz) chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz) coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons roasted squash seeds, for garnish
- 2 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche, for garnish
In a large saucepan over high temperature, heat the oil. Add the onion, shallots, garlic and ginger and saute until they begin to give off their aroma, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until half the liquid has evaporated, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the diced squash and stock. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue simmering for 5 more minutes.
While the soup is simmering, place the curry powder in a small saute pan over high heat. Dry-saute the curry until you can smell its aroma, 1 or 2 minutes. Add it to the soup when it has finished simmering.
Puree the soup in a blender or in batches in a food processor. Add the chile powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
**If you have a squash that’s difficult to peel, cut it in half and remove the seeds and strings. Roast it, cut side down, for about an hour in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Then scoop out the flesh and add it to the soup just before you put in the coconut milk.
I have included recipes for Roasted Squash Seeds and Creme Fraiche below.
A Butternut Squash is hard to cut, but I have a hint that might make it easier. Before you try to cut the squash long ways, first cut it into 2 or 3 shorter sections. I found that the moisture in the squash grips the knife very strongly making it difficult to push through the vegetable. So, by making the squash into shorter pieces, you are cutting pieces that are only about half the length of your knife, and the grip of the squash on the knife is much less. This is true when slicing all vegetables; I know that slicing potatoes has the same tight grip on the knife if you are trying to go lengthwise.
September 21, 2015, NOTE: I made the soup again today, but with a difference. Jenn and James brought me 3 squash that are an off-shoot of acorn squash; the total weight of the three was 5.5 pounds. Because they are the thick skin type of squash, I had to roast them and adjust the recipe for the pre-cooking of the squash; it is in there as a footnote. But, when I scooped the flesh out of the roasted squash, I only had 2 3/8 pounds; there is more shrinkage than with the larger butternut squash. I had some butternut squash left over from last time, and added in enough to make the 4 pounds. This meant that I had to treat the squash in two ways; some went in with the stock and simmered while the rest went in after most of the simmer and with the coconut milk.
I discovered in the grocery store cooler a tube of fresh ginger! I used that rather than buying the knob of ginger and peeling and grating it. This is quite a time saver- and probably more economical since you have to buy a larger knob than you will use, and then freeze the remainder and hope you get back to using it before it dries out.
In a couple cases, I deviated slightly from the recipe; I used the full can of coconut milk (15 oz.) and 2 full cans of chicken stock (29 oz.). I had two butternut squashes and was surprised that after peeling them, I had almost exactly 4 pounds.
I have never tried to puree the soup in a food processor; I have an immersion blender- also known as a hand blender or stick blender. I can only warn you to be careful if you need to use a regular blender or food processor to puree the soup; it is hot and I wouldn’t want you to get burned.
September 9, 2015, Note: I made this soup again today with Butternut Squash, and measured the shrinkage from peeling and de-seeding. I started with 7 pounds of squash, and had 6 pounds when I finished prepping it. I did not peel it overly heavy; I took off just one layer with a vegetable peeler and left a yellow layer. I did not take that layer or go down to the deep orange of the center of the squash. The 4 pounds of prepared squash that I used made about 7 pounds of soup, which measured to just over 12 cups
Most of the recipes I find on the internet for Creme Fraiche use buttermilk. I don’t normally have buttermilk in the fridge, and tried making it with a buttermilk substitute – milk and vinegar. I don’t think it worked and I am not certain why I tried since Marlys’s recipe for Creme Fraiche has always worked for me.
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Mix in a sealable container for about 15 seconds. Then, leave at room temperature for the next 24 hours. Stir once or twice during that time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
While I am giving you a recipe for the roasted seeds, be certain to read my notes following the recipe because I learned a few tricks to make the job easier.
Roasted Winter Squash Seeds
- 1 cup winter squash seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Remove the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place in a small bowl. Stir the olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Cool on the baking sheet before serving.
Okay, my hints and suggestions. I didn’t bother to measure the amount of seeds I had; I knew I would use them all, and couldn’t do anything about being less than a cup. I did measure the oil and salt. I washed the seeds in a strainer; then dumped them out on a couple paper towels to absorb as much water as possible and to thin them into a layer so I could remove anything that was still orange. I patted them dry with another paper towel when I felt I had just seeds left.
I put dried seeds, oil and salt into a plastic storage bag, sealed it, and massaged it to get all the seeds coated with the oil and salt. Unfortunately, some of the salt also sticks to the inside of the baggie, so it might be easier to just use the oil with the seeds in the bag.
Now, instead of using parchment paper or foil to line the baking sheet, I just used one of my silicon mats. I dumped the oiled seeds onto the mat, then used a spoon to press down where ever there was a pile until the pile slid around and left only a single layer of seeds. Finally, because of the loss of the salt in the baggie, I sprinkled the salt on the single layer of oiled seeds on the baking sheet. I had to bake the seeds for more like 25 minutes- longer than the suggested 15 minutes, and took them out when they were golden brown; I never did hear any pop.