I brought this soup to a New Year’s Eve party. I wasn’t sure how it would go over because most of my family won’t touch squash soup, so my tasting audience was limited to myself, but it seemed to be a hit with everyone to whom I am not related. A soup like this is a wondeful way to add sweetness and balance to a meal with nourishing foods. The sweetness of the soup will vary a bit depending upon the type of squash used. I highly recommend roasting the squash first, as opposed to peeling, dicing, then boiling it. I find that roasting brings out the flavors of vegetables more than most other ways of cooking; this is especially true for starchier vegetables.
Despite my love for Winter squash, I cannot claim to be an expert on the different varieties. I do know that you will not go wrong with butternut, delicata, buttercup, hubbard, or turban squash. Butternut and delicata are probably the most common at the grocery store, out of those varieties. Spaghetti squash is too fibrous and, though you can get sweet, smooth acorn squashes, they can also be a bit fibrous. In this case, I used butternut and a mystery variety from my CSA; I think it was turban. But, use whatever is available; just taste and adjust the flavors as you go.
Much of this soup can be made ahead of time. You can roast the squash and cook the veggies ahead of time, then blend the soup and heat it up when you are ready to eat it. Extra cooked squash and leftover soup will both last in the fridge for a few days or will freeze quite well, so feel free to double or triple the recipe.
- 1 medium-sized Winter squash
- 1 Tablespoon ghee or olive oil
- 1 smallish onion, chopped
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 4-6 cups water
- 2-3 Tablespoons coconut butter and/or ghee, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Turn the oven to 400 degrees; go ahead and put the squash in to give it a head start while the oven heats up. If roasting it whole, poke with a sharp knife a few times to allow the steam to escape and put it in the oven with an tray or ovenproof dish underneath it to catch the juices that will otherwise make quite a mess of your oven. You can also cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and rub the exposed flesh with oil, then place on a tray cut-side down to roast. Roast 30-45 minutes, or until the skin looks puffy thoughout; it will be quite browned in some places. The flesh should be very soft and creamy. Be sure to test the smaller end; the large end actually cooks more quickly because it’s hollow.
Meanwhile, heat a soup pot to just under medium heat and add ghee or olive oil, then the onions. Allow the onions to cook slowly until they are soft and slightly browned, then stir in the leek and cook a few minutes more. Make a space in the center, add a bit more oil and the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the curry powder, then turn off the heat until you are ready to finish the soup.
Once the squash is roasted, cut in half and scoop out the seeds if you roasted it whole. Set the seeds aside to roast later. Remove the skin; if it’s really fully cooked, you should be able to pull it off quite easily. If the skin is not coming off easily, use a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, or a regular spoon if neither are available, to scoop out the flesh. Break it up a bit to help the heat escape, then put the cooked squash into a blender along with the sauteed vegetable mixture, the coconut, and 4 cups of the water. Blend in batches if you have a small blender. Blend on high speed, adding water as necessarily to blend it until very smooth. Pour back into the pot and bring to a boil, adding a little more ghee or some coconut butter if you wish. Season with just a bit of salt and pepper, to taste, then simmer the finished soup until you are ready to serve it. Enjoy!