It’s been ages since I had squash soup, and I missed it a lot. The only thing stopping me from making it was the lack of proper tools. My old blender is great for smoothies, but not for much else, and the idea of transferring soup to it a few cups at a time and trying to get them somewhat decently blended was not appealing.
Then last week, I was reminded of the existence of Immersion Blenders. A perfect solution for me – small enough to fit in my tiny little kitchen, and I don’t even have to take the soup out of the pot. :) They were even on sale, so I went out last weekend and bought myself an early christmas present. :) (I went for the Smart Stick with attachments – it doesn’t come in pretty colours, but it does more than just blend, and the price is still decent.)
Blender in hand, I looked up some more squash soup recipes to get an idea of what works. I ended up merging this coconut squash soup with this curry squash soup and Pete’s “add in lots of roasted veggies” recipe. The result was amazing, if I do say so myself. ;)
I bought enough squash for a double recipe, but I ended up using less coconut (partly because it was really sweet already, partly because my biggest pot was almost full). I used less water, too, just so it would fit. :) I like thick soups anyways. The only sad part was that I couldn’t get fresh rosemary that day, but the dried stuff seemed to work well enough. All in all, the cooking took about four hours! It was worth it, though. :)
So, the ingredients I think I ended up using:
- 2 medium butternut squash (probably ~4.5lbs)
- a few pinches of rosemary
- one bulb of garlic, plus a few leftover pieces
- 2 small yams
- 2 yellow/orange peppers
- about a quarter of a red onion
- assorted herbs (rosemary, basil, etc)
- one large sweet white onion
- 4 generous tsp of curry powder
- about 2x2x1″ of ginger
- one cube of veggie stock
- 3 cups water
- 2 apples
- half a cup of coconut milk
The first thing, of course, was to preheat the oven to.. er.. it was either 350 or 375. (forgive me if a few things are forgotten; I was too tired to care about blogging by the time the soup was done). I found my two biggest baking pans and lined the bigger one with tinfoil, went after the squash. Cutting a squash in half lengthwise can be.. tricky. I had to start at the bottom, get the blade into the neck as much as I could, then flip it around and work the knife in from the top (after cutting hte stalk off of course). Eventually they do pop open, though, and then you just scoop out the seeds, and put in a pinch of rosemary. I was able to fit three halves face-down into the first pan (plus some garlic bulbs – one for the soup, the others for later), covered it with tinfoil, and the other half got wrapped up in its own piece of tinfoil in the second pan.
I put all the squash in the oven right away, then started on the other veggies. Yams, peppers, the red onion and some leftover garlic bits all got chopped up and tossed in a bowl with oil, salt, and whatever seasoning I grabbed. I know basil was in there, and probably more of the rosemary; I might have added a bit of spike too. They all went into the second pan. I had planned on them cooking quickly, but, the squash was on the bottom getting most of the heat, and since they had to share a pan with one piece of squash they were all squished together a bit much. Next time, I’ll let the squash have the oven all to itself, and do the other veggies on broil, alone (which would have only taken like 15 minutes anyways). That extra squash half in the top pan was a bit underdone, too; either I need a bigger oven, or to swap the two pans around halfway through.
Anyways, an hour after putting the squash in, the bottom pan of squash was perfect. it was so well done it was just mush, and I had trouble not breaking the shell apart too much as I scooped out the flesh. :) there was syrupy squash juice in the bottom of the pan, too, which I happily licked off the tinfoil once I had all the squash out. :)
I’ve gotten ahead of myself a little, though. After putting the veggies in the oven, there was still half an hour left on the oven timer. I cleaned up a bit and practiced with the immersion blender before starting the soup. It turns out immersion blenders aren’t hard once you know that the blade part has to be completely in the water before you turn it on, and turned off again before you try to lift it out. :)
Anyways, once I was confident I wasn’t going to splatter soup on the walls, I got out my biggest soup pot and chopped up the onion. in it went, with a bit of oil, on medium heat. Every once in a while I checked on the veggies and mixed them around, but they were in no danger of burning whatsoever. Then I grated ginger as long as I could stand (I love ginger but grating is kind of a hassle – oh, and I used the fine grater, not the cheese one). Once the onions were soft, I added curry powder, and a minute later, the ginger. Then in went two cups of water and the veggie stock (which had actually been sitting in the water for a while, but I don’t think that matttered, it needs hot water to dissolve). With that stirred up a bit, I had the base for my soup – and just in time, because the squash was done.
I scooped the squash directly into the pot, and then (a long then – it was a lot of squash to scoop) the veggies went in too, and the contents of one bulb of garlic (you just pop a clove offand pull or squeeze out the contents, if it’s fully cooked it’s no problem). I chopped up the apples and put them in too, and another cup of water. All the scooping had been tiring, and I figured it would be good to let the soup cook and soften up those apples, so I sat down at the computer for half an hour and tried not to check on the soup too often.
When I returned, it was blending time! :) The immersion blender worked really well, and so fast. It’s really cool to see the soup slowly change from a jumble of veggie lumps to a smooth orange.. well.. soup. :) I’d been worrying that I’d overdone the curry powder, too, but after blending it had just the right balance of squash and curry. :) After letting it simmer a bit longer while I washed up, I added half a can of coconut milk, and lots of salt (which thankfully brought down the sweetness a bit). And then, finally, it was done! :)
I made my bowl of soup look pretty with a drizzle of coconut milk and a pinch of nutmeg, but pete wasn’t willing to wait for that ;) I’ll take that as a compliment.
Damn, now I wish I had soup. it only lasted, like, 3 days. I need a bigger soup pot!