What do you do when there are still 25 blue Hubbard squash under your desk? Roast one every weekend and make soup! Remember those cookbooks with names like “365 ways to make hamburger,” or “chicken?” Well, I think I will soon be able to post my 365 ways to cook winter squash. Here, I looked to my pantry for inspiration, finding both some excellent curry powder begging to be used up and a canned apple conserve from the fall.
The result is a fragrant, spicy squash soup, made robust with the addition of sweet potato and carrots, and flavored with a spicy curry. Although I like to make my own spice mix, I took the shortcut and used excellent curry powder that I buy in small portions in our local health food store. I make a habit of storing only small quantities of spices bought in bulk since their strength is quick to deteriorate.
The soup was topped off with apple conserve made with raisins, dried cranberries, port and thyme. I’ve made this several times over the past few years – sometimes with apples and sometimes with pears — and find it to be a versatile condiment in the dead of winter. Traditionally, it would be served alongside a Sunday pork roast. I like it with sweet potatoes and potato pancakes. Here, the dried fruit complements the curry spices of the soup.
Curried Winter Squash Soup
3 c roasted squash puree (see below for roasting instructions)
1 small onion, chopped
Vegetable oil or ghee
1 tbsp curry powder or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Salt and red pepper to taste
If you don’t have squash puree on hand, roast a winter squash in advance. Cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and roast it cut side down on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly and scoop the squash flesh into a bowl.
In a large pot over medium heat, slowly sauté chopped onion in oil or ghee until translucent. Add the curry powder and ground cumin and stir to combine well, cooking for a minute or so until fragrant. Do not let it burn.
Add the squash, sweet potato and carrots, and stir well to coat with the curry mixture. Add water to cover and simmer over medium or medium-low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 30-40 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup until smooth.
Garnish with herbs, sautéed cubes of apple or pear or a conserve, a little coconut milk, or a few seeds, or a combination.