When ever fall happens, it's like a magic switch in my brain flips. Instead of salads and grilled meats, I start craving soup and things that have been braised. Which is really too bad, because the best lettuces are now in season and i just don't want anything to do with them. Oh well.
As I have mentioned before on this blog, I hate squash. It is a vile, tasteless vegetable with a nasty, slimy texture. And then I realized that I'd only had yellow crooknecked squash, usually steamed. Of course I hated it. So I've made it my mission to discover squashes that I like, or at least recipes I can tolerate them in. It seems like butternut squash soup does the trick.
Astute readers will recognize this soup as a riff on the Pumpkin Curry Soup I posted a couple years ago. There's been a dearth of pumpkins at the markets this year, so rather than use canned pumpkin or spend eight bucks for one at Trader Joe's (for reals? Eight bucks for PUMPKIN?), I decided to mess around with butternut squash and see if it did the trick. And you know what? It does.
The trick is to roast everything. And I do mean, EVERYTHING. The squash gets roasted, of course, before being added to the soup. But I found that kind of bland, and so I decided to roast the onions, potatoes and garlic before adding them as well. It makes a huge difference. The onions caramelize and gain a heavy sweetness which is really notable. The potatoes and garlic are also improved. It's really just a better soup altogether.
1/4 cup onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups potatoes, diced
1 butternut squash, cooked. (I do this by wrapping it in foil, then throwing it in the oven at 350 for about an hour. It peels right off the skin.)
2 tablespoons of butter
4 cups chicken broth
Curry powder to taste (a couple tablespoons is what I use)
Toss the diced potatoes, onions and garlic with a couple tablespoons of canola oil and spread on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, then roast at 350 until brown and crispy. The onions will start to smell like oniuon rings. that's how you know you did it right.
In a pot, melt the butter with the curry powder. Add the cooked squash, the roasted potatoes, garlic and onions. Add the chicken broth and simmer for about ten minutes, then puree. I like to use my stick blender for this.
You end up with a savory soup that gets its power from the layers of flavor created by roasting everything. It's not as heavy as other butternut squash soups that get their omph from cream. And it would be pretty easy to convert to vegetarian by using veggie stock, or even vegan by swapping out the butter for olive oil. Give it a shot. It made a squash eater out of me.