This is the whiny thing I was going to post: “I give up. I will never, ever be able to produce an exact recipe for soup. I’m into my third pot of butternut squash soup of the season and have yet to really measure the ingredients, or actually even keep track of them. For me, homemade soup is like a hall pass to use whatever I have and crave at the moment….”
But then…but then…then it all changed. I discovered a trove of pumpkin/squash soup recipes that take the same basic ingredients and, with nary a knife unsheathed, produce a deliciously complex and satisfying soup. A soup that can be served hot in a big bowl as a meal, or cold in a shot glass as an appetizer.
I am including my non-recipe below, for when you have the time and ingredients to create something uniquely yours. In the meantime, here is the sheer brilliance of nearly instant pumpkin/squash soup.
A few notes: I love red curry paste so I probably sneak in a bit extra. You can also use red curry powder, though you would be missing out on the twin goodness of garlic and lemongrass. I roast my own kabocha squash because its thicker and sweeter than other squash, and makes the house smell good. But dang, the option of opening two cans instead is money! Finally, I cannot tell you how much I love toasted unsweetened coconut flakes and the healthy, tasty, crunchy I daresay almost bacony finishing touch they add.
Now my little kitchen witches and goblins, go forth to your pantry and make some Halloween Soup!
2 Tbsp red curry paste (more or less to taste)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, about 32 ounces (one carton)
2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree (or 4ish cups cooked squash of choice.)
1 3/4 cup coconut milk, or a 13.5 ounce can, reserving 1 Tbsp (slackers—pour in the whole
an and be done with it)
1 large red chili pepper, sliced (totally optional but a nice touch for hotties)
Cilantro for garnish if desired
Toasted coconut flakes for garnish if desired (strongly encouraged)
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste for about one minute or until paste becomes fragrant. Add the broth and the pumpkin and stir.
- Cook for about 3 minutes or until soup starts to bubble. Add the coconut milk and cook until hot, about 3 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk and sliced red chilis. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired.
- Serve with Best French Bread, Paleo Crackers, Dirt Bread or your dipper of choice.
And now for…
Edie’s Seat of Pants Squash Soup
While I can’t provide an exact recipe, I can provide a process, some ingredient guidelines and of course my sincere encouragement at every step. There really is nothing that says comfort like a pot of your own signature soup.
Olive oil (for silkiness)
Butter (for tastiness)
1 apple or pear
Savories (your choice of curry, garam masala, cumin, dried or fresh herbs, fresh ginger, red or green curry paste, a squeeze from a tube of lemongrass paste my new fave go to ingredient.)
- Optional deglazing hooch (sherry, wine, calvados, hard or regular apple cider)
- Cooked winter squash (and/or any leftover cooked root vegetables)
- Diced potato (if no leftover roasted potatoes were in your leftovers above)
- Maple syrup, a tablespoon or more to taste
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Saute chopped onions until slightly soft.
- Add apple or pear and continue cooking until all are soft and starting to brown.
- Add savories and continue to cook a minute or two, or until aromatic. You want to really get the flavor infused before adding liquid.
- Just as you are thinking “OMG look at the stuff sticking to my pan!” pour in a healthy splash of deglazing liquid of choice and give the pot a good stir/scrape. Watch the browned bits disappear and rejoice as the liquid cooks down.
- Add in broth and potatoes. If potatoes are raw let them cook for 10 minutes or so before adding squash. If cooked add them with squash.
- Add squash and maple syrup. Continue cooking, giving flavors time to meld. I have no idea if this step is necessary, but it gives me ample time to check email, read The Skimm, take a shower or get through a few more minutes of Serial.
- Turn off heat, let soup cool a bit and then process until smooth with an immersion blender (you just plain need one for fall) or in a blender.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with Best French Bread, Paleo Crackers, Dirt Bread or your dipper of choice and be very, very happy.