Soup is Good Food!

January is National Soup Month—not like I need an excuse to make a batch of this fabulously full-flavored, delicious wintry potage.

Chock full as it is of bright orange butternut squash, warming ginger and curry, fresh lemongrass and sassy apples, smoothed with coconut milk and dolloped with tart cilantro yogurt, you won’t need much prodding to follow my lead.

This luscious soup from Chef Andrew Carmellini’s 2011 cookbook “American Flavor” (check out my roundup of the best cookbooks from 2011) will hit the spot; I promise you will make this again!

I have a feeling it will be soup weather for a while.

Coconut-Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Lemongrass and Cilantro Yogurt

(adapted from Andrew Carmellini’s “American Flavor,” Harper Collins Publishers, 2011)

Serves 6-8

For the Soup:

  • 2 small butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded and cut in chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup fresh, rough-chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh lemongrass
  • 1 large clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
  • 2 small, sweet apples (i.e. Gala or MacIntosh), peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
  • 1 can coconut milk (14-ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Cilantro Yogurt:

  • 1 cup thick, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When butter melts, add onions, ginger and lemongrass and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes for onions to soften but not color and the lemongrass aroma to be released.

2. Add garlic and curry powder, and mix vegetables to coat. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add squash, apples, broth and coconut milk to pot and mix well; increase heat to high and stir in salt.

3. Bring soup to a low boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until apples and squash are soft.

4. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or if you don’t have one, work in batches and puree in food processor or blender. Blend smooth. Strain the soup back into pot (that will catch any pieces of lemongrass), warm and serve with dollop of yogurt.

Cilantro Yogurt:

Combine yogurt, cilantro, olive oil and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl.

Note: Carmellini finishes the dish with a sprinkling of dhana dal—roasted coriander seeds that can be found at any Indian grocer on Devon.  You can substitute chopped toasted almonds for crunch.

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