For all of my non-adult years (a debatable number, depending on whom you ask) I equated squash with baby food. Not that I was that far off, as those of you with children can attest. But like a few other foods (tomatoes, beans, and even honey), I have seen the light and crawled out from under the rock of childhood ignorance.
Please forgive me. Squash is pure gold.
Ever since I made a squash pie for my first thanksgiving with (at the time) my future in-laws, I’ve been hooked on squash. Smitten kitchen’s squash toasts with ricotta and cider vinegar has cemented this into my mind even further (I contest that those toasts are one of Deb Perelman’s greatest creations).
So allow me to either give you squash lovers another favorite recipe, or convince you squash skeptics to give this a try. This soup is incredibly forgiving and Patrick swears that the sweet and salty pumpkin seeds could make us millions.
CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
serves 6-8 comfortably as a main
1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds*
1 tablespoon butter, melted (olive oil for vegan substitute)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 small or 1 large butternut squash, for a total of approx. 4 lbs (you’ll need approximately 5 cups cooked squash)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery, cubed
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups low sodium chicken (vegetable stock for vegetarian/vegan option)
½ cup heavy cream or full fat coconut milk, plus more for garnish
salt to taste, about 1 tsp
chives for garnish, chopped
First, make sweet and salty pumpkin seeds: In medium bowl, mix together pumpkin seeds, melted butter, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit on top rack for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown, stirring once at 5 minutes for even toasting.
De-seed and cut squash into large wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 for 40 min or until soft.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat (I love using my cast iron Staub pot for this)! Saute onion, chopped carrot, and chopped celery for 10 min, or until onion is translucent and just beginning to brown.
Add ginger, garlic, curry powder, nutmeg, and cayenne; stir over heat for a minute or two. Pour chicken stock over vegetables and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 min.
At this point your squash will probably be done (or close to it). When cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a fork and a butter knife, spear the squash wedges then cut off and discard the rind.
When broth has finished simmering, add squash and cream, then puree with an immersion blender** until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Serve with a splash of cream in the center of the bowl, then top with chives and pumpkin seeds.
*If you use raw pumpkin seeds, you will need to pre-roast them, try 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
**If you don’t have an immersion blender,
go out and buy one remove soup from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Using a blender or food processor, puree your soup (unless you have a large blender or food processer, you will need to do this in batches). Return soup to pot and warm to desired serving temperature if it’s cooled.