I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again; I’m a soup person. I truly think I could be content eating soup once a day all year long, even in the heat of summer. But I can think of no better time to make a big pot of hot soup than at times like the present, when great influxes of genuine winter weather grace or torment us, as they have with such fervor this season.
I made this delicious soup on a whim when I discovered a forgotten container of roasted pumpkin in my freezer last week. I was feeling kind of sassy and wanted something with a little more punch than a subtly flavored squash soup of the usual ilk. So I reached for some warming spices to give my concoction a less familiar flair, and was met with rewarding results. The delicate sweetness of cinnamon complements the candied caramelized flavor of roasted squash, while the curry powder and garam masala, two spices that are actually blends of numerous individual aromatics, add a bit of heat and a whole lot of flavor. A splash of heavy cream or coconut milk tames the spice a little, and adds a rich, silky flavor and mouth-feel.
Makes about 12 cups
2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
6–7 cups chopped roasted winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoons high quality curry powder
3/4 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6–8 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Honey, to taste, optional*
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup heavy cream or full fat coconut milk
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. Cut squash in half or large wedges and roast in oven until tender. When cool enough to handle, remove skin from squash and dice before measuring (don’t worry about being too precise).
2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add celery, ginger, and apple, season with salt and pepper, and continue sautéing until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add spices and cook for a minute or two. Add chopped squash to pot, and stir to coat with spice mixture. Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all vegetables are very tender, 20–30 minutes or so.
4. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend soup until smooth. Alternately, puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor (Careful when blending hot soup: Fill blender only about halfway and vent lid or hold down with a towel. If your blender is too full, the hot soup can explode out of your blender from the steam and may cause serious injury or, at the very least, a really sloppy mess.).
5. Once soup is fully pureed, add lemon juice and season with salt, pepper, and honey (see note below) to taste.
6. Stir in cream just before serving, or add directly to each serving bowl.
*Not all squash is created equal, and some will naturally be sweeter than others. When I made this soup, it had balanced notes of sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy. I used an heirloom blue pumpkin, which was beautiful but not terribly flavorful, so I added about a tablespoon of honey to bring out its natural sweetness. If you find you crave a slightly sweeter soup, add a little honey to taste, but most squash won’t need it. Butternut squash and sugar pumpkins are generally the sweetest whereas acorn squash or regular pumpkin are more bland.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products