Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Curried squash soup

Sunday night, our English friends invited us over for a proper English dinner. Yorkshire pudding, rib roast, roasted parsnips and potatoes, bread pudding…you get the picture. It was all wonderful and such a treat after a busy weekend, to have no worries over making dinner on Sunday night.

For starters, they made a Curried Squash Soup, it was fantastic. Even my “so over squash…” husband was looking at me, sort of saying, “we can have squash again if you can make this.”
Given the five squash still in my possession from our CSA and the strong desire to try to replicate their fantastic recipe, I gave it a go. This version is good, but I think the spices can still be substituted. Curry is not my thing, I’m trying to learn. I’ll be sure to try and get the blend that they used and post it soon. The soup is obviously, very spicy… and really good. Now that the weather is changing, I could have soup every day.
I also want to share an Ina Garten, butternut squash risotto recipe that another friend made on Monday. We didn’t get pictures, but the risotto was wonderful; really complex with a few quality ingredients.

Curried Squash Soup
For roasted squash:
2 small butternut squash
1 acorn squash
2 small summer squash
3 T olive oil

For soup:
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 T olive oil
2 T Hungarian paprika
1 T curry powder
1 t ginger powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t cumin
½ t cardamom powder
5-6 saffron threads
4 cups chicken broth (or more for a runnier soup)
1/8 c heavy whipping cream
Fresh cilantro

Set oven to 350 degrees. Peel, seed and chop the squash into 1-inch cubes. Toss in olive oil and spread across a baking sheet or large metal baking pan. Use more than one if you need to in order to spread the squash evenly to form a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, toss and roast for an addition 20 – 30 minutes, until squash is caramelized and very soft.
**You can do this step ahead and refrigerate or freeze the squash until you’re ready to make the soup, it makes a quick dinner if the squash is already cooked.

In a large, heavy stock pot saut̩ onion and garlic over medium heat until opaque. In a smaller pot, heat chicken broth and saffron over low heat to release saffron flavors. In a small bowl, evenly blend spice mixture. Add spice mixture to onion and garlic, saut̩ing until the spices start to toast. It will be a thick. (I use a Le Crueset pan, which works very well. The spices stick to the enamel a bit, but with the addition of the chicken stock, release from the side of the pan.) Add about 2 cups of the chicken stock and stir for about 2 minutes so the flavors blend. Add the squash and cook evenly for another 2 minutes. Use either stick blender or puree soup in small batches in a food processor to process soup until smooth. Return to stock pot and add additional broth to achieve desired consistency. Cook an additional 10 Р15 minutes over low heat. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors meld.

Serve the soup with a drizzle of cream and a bunch of fresh cilantro.

Makes 6 – 8 servings.

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