Monday, November 1, 2010
Thai red curry squash soup
It's November (!), which means all my cooking magazines are filled with Thanksgiving recipes. I don't usually get very excited about Thanksgiving, which is a shame for such a food-centered holiday. My family never did a traditional Thanksgiving when I was growing up (my mom is a vegetarian, so roasting a turkey wasn't exactly an option), so I don't have a nostalgic attachment to the food. And although Thanksgiving food is always good, it's usually not that exciting, especially for someone who grew up on spicy Indian food. Which is why I was very happy to see the current issue of Food & Wine feature a series of Asian-inspired Thanksgiving recipes created by Joanne Chang (the chef behind the amazing Flour Bakery + Cafe). I love the idea of giving Thanksgiving food a multicultural twist - maybe I'll be creating an Indian-inspired Thanksgiving feast for my own family one day...
Out of all the recipes in the feature, the red curry squash soup looked especially appetizing, and seemed like the perfect way to use the butternut squash that had been sitting on our counter for about a month. And the soup definitely lived up to expectations - it was totally delicious, creamy, and flavorful. The curry and coconut milk blend really well with the flavor of the squash, without overpowering it. Plus the soup gets even better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two, so you can make it ahead of time.
Recipe notes: The recipe suggests kabocha, kuri, or buttercup squash, but I used butternut, and it was fantastic. I left out the lemongrass, lime leaves, and scallions because I didn't have any, and added a handful of cilantro leaves at the end. Andrew and I both thought the cilantro added really good flavor to the soup. I also added more than the suggested 1 tbs lime juice.
Thai red curry squash soup
Adapted from Food & Wine, November 2010
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs thinly sliced ginger, plus 1/2 cup slivered fresh ginger
1 tbs Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded, and cut (2-inch pieces) butternut, kabocha, kuri, or buttercup squash
2 1/2 cups water
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13 1/2 oz.)
1 lime leaf or 1/2 tsp lime zest (I used zest)
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths (I didn't use this)
1 tbs sugar
1-2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 large scallion, thinly sliced (I didn't use this)
Small handful cilantro leaves
In a large heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and ginger and cook until onions are softened, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook over low heat until squash is soft, about 25 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, and lemongrass and simmer 30 minutes more, partially covered. Discard lime leaves and lemongrass.
Puree soup using an immersion blender (if using a regular standing blender, work in batches). Stir in sugar and 1 tbs lime juice and season with salt. Taste and add more lime juice if desired.
In a small skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the slivered ginger and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove ginger and drain on a paper towel.
Serve soup garnished with ginger, scallions, and cilantro.