Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thai Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

OH      MY     GOSH  !!!!!!!!

If anyone would have told me (or WARNED me) this summer would have gotten so crazy and so busy that I would be away from my blog for so long, I would never have believed you!!  But as usual, I under estimated every little thing I had to do.  TYPICAL.   The traveling was significant, work, kids, wedding etc.. it was a lot. And it was a recipe for exhaustion!  I need to recover.

I need soup.  A big bowl of Healing, soul filling, gratifying autumn soup.

AHHH.  October.  Just the way the month sounds when you say it is nice.  It's the month where hot weather wanes, the cool is ushered in, blankets come out, and SOUP is made....I absolutely LOVE the fall.

Then,  WAM!!!!  I woke up.

It certainlty doesnt feel like October. It's summer hot.  Last weekend was over 90 degrees!!!    I am SO, SO, SO done with hot weather. We were at the pumpkin patch with my grandson (along with about 500 others) sweating to DEATH (no that's not an exaggeration) and waiting in lines for Ponies, wagons and trains.  Camron had a ball - really.  But Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy  were melting away into oblivion.

AND, just when I thought I would die of heat stroke for sure... (this is when you hear angel music) I saw them.

Beautiful, gorgeous and fresh butternut squash and SUGAR PIE pumpkins!! All just picked from the farm.  WOW - now that's the epitome of fall - right in front of me!  Nothing says Autumn better than butternut squash and pumpkins!! 

I am done with summer food and light fare.  I want soups of all types, pumpkin pie, stew (yes, there is pumpkin stew) and thinkgs like sweet potatoes and chili.

I figure this....I am just going to have to FORCE (will?) it to be FALL if I have to!!! 
And force it I did with this gorgeous and satistying Thai Spiced Butternut Squash Soup.  It made me feel like there is hope.  Like the weather just might be changing.  Like cool days and cold nights are really coming and we really will be able to take out those blankets and slippers.

Thai Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Olive or vegetable oil
1 Medium butternut squash
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or more to taste)
1 green or red jalapeno pepper, very finely diced
1/3 lemon grass – very finely diced  (tough outer edges removed)
1 tablespoon Thai Red curry paste (or more to taste)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or more to taste)
1 box (32 oz) Chicken stock PLUS 1 cup or so
1 can coconut milk (or use ½ and ½ if you don’t like coconut)
Sour cream (optional)
Steamed jasmine or other Asian rice

2-3 fresh limes
Salt and pepper

For garnish (these are important to the soup flavor – don’t skip)
Chopped cilantro
Chopped green onions
Chopped roasted and salted peanuts
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees
Cut butternut squash in half.  Place one half, cut side down, in a foil lined baking dish and roast squash until soft (about 45 minutes)  While baking peel off skin off the other half and cut up into small chunks (about 1x1” cubes) – set aside.

I quartered you can see in the picture, but doing it in halves works better.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot (big enough to make the soup) heat a couple teaspoons of oil until shimmering.  Add the onions and celery and cook over medium heat until caramelized and soft. 

 Add the curry paste, ginger and garlic and Jalapeno.  Sauté about a minute, stirring constantly. 

Stir in the stock, lemon grass and butternut squash chunks.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Meanwhile – squash in oven is likely done.  Peel off the skin, cut up into chunks and put them in blender or food processor along with 1 cup of chicken stock. Puree until very smooth.   (see picutre above for the baked squash cubes)

Spoon  about a third of the chunks from the soup into a bowl and set aside.  Using a stick blender – blend the balance of the soup smooth.  Add pureed squash and blend to combine.  Add the chunks back into soup.  Stir in ½ to one full can coconut milk (you can use 'light' if you want) or about ½ to 1 cup half and half.   At this point taste and add soy sauce, salt, pepper and fresh lime juice to taste to adjust flavor and seasoning. (I used about 3 tablespoons SOY, 2 fresh limes and salt and pepper) 

I added about 3 tablespoons sour cream - I thought it made it better – but leave it out if you wish.

Put a mound of rice into a soup bowl and spoon soup around it.  Top with green onions, cilantro, fresh lime juice and a dollop of sour cream.  Toppings are not will be very sad without the peanut and cilantro flavor in this soup.  Its imperative.

The Result?  A very tasty twist on an old fall favorite.  This is NOT your mothers butternut squash soup people!  It's fresh, bright, tangy, spicy and above all, it's homey, comforting and satisfying.  It makes us remember why fall and winter food tastes so good !!  This is what autumn is all about. 
From my home to yours, enjoy!

But I still bought a butternut squash...I couldnt resist.  Its the epitome of Autuumn......

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