Our last post was about bringing more balance and depth to dishes by incorporating as many of the five tastes as possible. This soup is a good example of that. A tart apple and a dash of lime juice give the soup a cleaner taste while the addition of shrimp paste lends an underlying satiety. These ingredients could easily overwhelm any dish and the key to their use is restraint. Of course, you could always just make this soup because its goo-ood!
I know some people may not be comfortable cooking with shrimp paste or want a kosher or vegetarian soup. You could omit the shrimp paste and still have a delicious soup.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup Serves 6-8.
First bake off your butternut squash. There was a comedian (I don’t remember who) who used to joke that he loved baked potatoes but they took forever to bake so he would just put one in the oven whenever he thought of it, that way it would be ready by the time he wanted to eat it. That’s kind of how I am with winter squash. Whenever I think I might want some within the next few days, I bake one off. Once that is done, the rest of this recipe only takes about 20 minutes.
Bake the squash, covered with a little water in the bottom of the dish, at 425 for 45 minutes or until tender:
1 butternut squash, halved & seeded
When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove skin.
While the squash is baking you can start the rest. Slice into fairly large pieces and sautee in oil over medium heat:
2 carrots, peeled
2 medium onions
1 large tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled
After a few minutes, add to the pan:
1 tsp. shrimp paste (optional; you can leave it as a whole chunk)
Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add to the pan and saute a couple minutes more:
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T. curry powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1 T. lime juice
Transfer the contents of the pan and the squash to a blender, along with 1 qt. vegetable stock and enough water to puree. Blend until smooth. You will probably have to blend in 2 batches. Depending on the quality of your blender and how smooth you want your soup, you may need to pass it through a fine-mesh strainer.
Finish with 1/2 c. heavy cream (optional) and salt to taste (about 2 tsp.).