Monday, April 4, 2011

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

It's technically spring here in DC but it feels more like fall, and these cold and rainy days have me cooking up some soup. This is the first time I have made this version of butternut squash soup, and I must admit that I love the curry addition to this classic fall dish. The soup's bold flavor and creamy texture gives it a decadent feel, but the secret is that it's actually low fat and healthy - not to mention easy and super tasty!

Here are the ingredients you'll need:
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 apples
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder (or more to taste)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half - a helpful technique is to first squarely cut off the stem end to create a flat surface that will allow you to stabilize the squash so you can more easily split it lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the pulp and seeds. Cut the apples in half and core them with a melon baller or spoon. Rub the apple and butternut squash halves with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, put them on a foil- or Silpat-lined pan, and then roast them in the oven. Remove the apples after 20 minutes and set them aside; continue to roast the squash for an additional 20 minutes before allowing it to cool as well. When cooled, use a spoon to scrape out all of the flesh from the apples and squash into a bowl, leaving the skin behind. All of this can be done ahead of time, and will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for months, ready to be defrosted anytime for a quick, tasty, healthy soup!

To make the soup, heat a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot on the stove top on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the diced onion, smashed garlic, and salt and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the curry powder, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf and cook for an additional minute. Finally, add the roasted butternut squash, apple, and water, bring the liquid to a boil on high heat, then lower and simmer for 10 minutes. To create a luxuriously smooth texture puree the soup in a blender, or for a slightly more rustic result and hassle-free approach use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot - either way, be sure to remove the bay leaf first. If transferring to a blender be careful not to overfill the vessel with hot liquid. Blend in batches and return the pureed soup to the pot on the stove top. Prior to serving add the apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Curried croutons:
  • 2 cups of 1 inch cubes of sourdough bread
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tbs olive oil 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the bread with olive oil, curry powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, then spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. I usually have to double my crouton recipe because I can't resist snacking on these as I cook!

When serving the soup, top with a large spoonful of yogurt and garnish with croutons and chives.