Monday, November 22, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

They say that a lot of people change as they age and sometimes those changes don't make a married couple more compatible than they once were.  Luckily for John, I am changing for the better in his eyes.  Yes, my dear readers, I am finally starting to really like spicy food.

I'm not into the it'll-make-you-sweat spicy food, yet.  But I have found myself adding a lot more spice than certain recipes call for to give it more of a kick.  I'm not adding spice to random foods, but when I want something to be spicy, like a curried butternut squash soup, then it darn well better give me a zing.  I grew up in a household where none of us liked spice.  We were eating mild salsas, avoiding Indian food, and staying away from jalapenos.  Now I carry multiple kinds of ground pepper in my pantry and have various kinds of hot sauce.  My how I've grown.

The curried butternut squash soup was so delicious that John and I saved the leftovers in our freezer for a rainy day.  Just knowing I have this creamy soup with a bite in my freezer makes me happy.  Eating it right now would make me happier, but it is only 10:43 AM, so I guess I'll wait.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted quite a bit form Simply Recipes

1 medium-large butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cayene pepper
Pinch of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2-4 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon kosher salt (to taste)

Pumpkin seeds for garnish

To cook butternut squash (can be done up to one day ahead; I suggest doing it while you cook dinner the night before you want to make the soup so that the soup comes together in no time): Cut the butternut squash in half from root to tip with a sharp knife (this will be a difficult task).  Scoop out the seeds and place cut-side down in a roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water and roast at 400 degrees for 55 minutes or so.  The flesh of the squash should be scooped out with no resistance.  Place in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to make the soup.

For the soup:
In a large dutch oven heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in one medium diced onion and cook until translucent.  Create an onion free spot in the pan and add in 1/4 cup butter.  Once butter is melted, add 1/4 cup flour and stir constantly (being careful not to bring in the onions) until it turns a light brown color.  Once the roux is finished cooking, stir it with the onions and add in 1 clove of minced garlic.  Quickly add in 1 teaspoon cayene pepper, a pinch of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 2-4 teaspoons curry powder (depending on how much curry flavor you want), and 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder.  Stir to coat the onions with the spices.  Slowly pour in 3 cups of chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits as your pour.  Add in your cooked butternut squash (directions above) and stir until completely mixed.  Bring the soup to a simmer and then blend using your immersion blender or in batches in your blender (being careful to leave an air vent if you do, and work in small batches).  Once blended, simmer for a couple more minutes and taste for seasoning.  Add in kosher salt and more spice if needed.  Stir in 1/2 cup cream and cook for a couple of minutes more.  Serve with pumpkin seeds for garnish.

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