09 December 2009

On Soup

Remember this summer when it was about 120* outside, and everyone was grossly overheated and dripping in sweat and malice?  I don't.  Or, at least I'm beginning to feel as if I can forgive the spirits of Summers Past, if they will simply take away these inhuman temperatures and let me resume functioning as a normal human being.  The sun is shining so cheerfully outside, beckoning me to frolic through the streets on my day off, but I know it's just a tease.  These winter days are flirty little minx; it may seem like a great idea to romp around, but alas, it's 17*!  No thank you, I'll take my chances in here where it is warm and the blankets are plentiful.

Now, I realize this all seems a bit pessimistic.  Yes, yes, it is gorgeous out there, and all seasons have their merits.  But the winter inevitably turns me into a monster of sorts, one that stuffs themselves with candy and carbohydrates in anticipation of a looming hibernation, and only ventures out of the apartment when forced to go to work or coerced with the promise of more food.  I spend my days watching movies or delightfully girly television, reading, and every so often cleaning up my messes.

I truly do love winter.  It offers me an excuse for my perpetual laziness and homebody personality.  When it snows, I forget all about the subzero temperatures and prance around like a 7 year-old.  Of course, there is always Christmas.  But for me, winter holds that spot so near and dear to my heart because it is not only satsuma season, but, oh yes, soup season.

A big bowl of soup is as effective and much more delicious than any remedy money can buy.  I am accustomed to the "poor man's soup," that haphazard potion of potatoes, celery, beans, and whatever else left in the caverns of the refrigerator that warms and delights.  But this, dear readers, this is another thing all together.  I discovered this recipe in the Cafe Flora cookbook , which is a collection of recipes frequently produced in the kitchen of the celebrated vegetarian restaurant in Seattle.  A wholesome and slightly sweet concoction of butternut squash, curry, and coconut milk, this soup is sure to deliver some warmth to those otherwise intolerable winter days.

Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from the Cafe Flora Cookbook

Cafe Flora suggests using two cans of coconut milk (14 oz each), but I found that the sweetness of the coconut can overpower the taste of the squash.  I use one can of coconut milk, and substitute the rest with vegetable stock, or if you feel so inclined, heavy cream.  Also, some hazelnuts make a delicious addition to the soup if you are feeling particularly sassy.  

1 medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 (or much more, if you're anything like me) cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon finely ground coriander seeds
1 (14 oz) can of lite coconut milk
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1.  Peel and cut the butternut squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds, and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes.

2.  Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and a bit of salt, and sauté until the onion is translucent and soft, stirring often.  Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 more minutes.

3.  Add the curry powder, cumin, and ground coriander and sauté for 15 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add 4 cups of water and the squash, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook, covered, at a low boil until the squash is tender.

4.  Purée the soup in a blender or food processor, or simply remove from the heat temporarily and mash it up with a big wooden spoon.  This works just fine if the squash is soft enough and your determination is strong enough.

5.  Return the soup to heat, and add the coconut milk and broth, bringing just to a boil.  Remove the soup off the heat, and add salt and a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I'll take your curry butternut squash and raise you a pumpkin black bean. Christmas Eve ... it is ON! :-)