As if the dearth of food pictures and recipes hasn’t made it obvious, I have lost all kitchen mojo in the past few months. Last night, for example, I had a cinnamon milkshake and popcorn for dinner. Unfortunately, that has been pretty normal around here. Tonight, though, I put on a pot of soup and P loved it so much he told me I had to write it down, so here it is. Squash soup is generally very flexible. In this case, I simply purged the fridge of perishables that were on the verge of going bad, and picked some stuff out of the pantry to match. If you don’t have the exact ingredient I used, try something else. Soup is also a great way to use the remnants of last summer’s garden. The squash, (dried) chilies, (dried) lemongrass, and garlic are all from last summer’s bounty.
I usually puree squash soup, but I didn’t feel like fishing out all the chilies and lemongrass, so there’s some texture in this batch. Feel free to play around with the recipe. And don’t be intimidated! The soup came together in about 45 minutes (not including simmering time)
Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
In advance, cut 2 whole winter squash in half and remove (and compost) the seeds (I used Buttercup, I’d recommend any sweet winter squash with a fine texture like Buttercup or Red Kuri. I’d avoid stringy varieties like spaghetti). Place the four halves cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove, let cool, and scrape the flesh from the skin. Compost the skins. Set squash aside.
Heat ~1/4 C (it’s winter, we need the insulation) olive oil (or another fat) in a pot. Add 1.5 onions, finely diced (the “half” was going bad in the fridge…) and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown (8-10 minutes). Add 2 stalks celery, finely diced and cook for a few minutes. Add some heat – I used whole dried Thai chilies, but you can use red pepper flakes, cayenne, dried chilies, etc. Add 2-3 T minced fresh ginger and 5-6 cloves garlic finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press. Cook just until you can smell the garlic and ginger (1-2 minutes). Add the squash and stir in (it’s easier to prevent lumps this way). When throughly mixed, add one can coconut milk, and combine throughly. Finally add 4-6 C broth (depending on how soupy or stewy you want it) and a few stalks lemongrass. Simmer for a half hour to an hour.
If desired, toast some bread crumbs in a pan over medium heat until dry and crispy. Sprinkle over individual bowls of soup when ready to eat.
Hopefully I don’t actually need to say this but – DON’T eat the chilies or lemongrass stalks!