Thursday, November 19, 2009

Butternut Squash: It Cures What Ails Ya (Whatever That May Be)

We interrupt this spree of vegan holiday baking to kill two birds with one stone. Well, maybe not the best metaphor for a vegan website, but I'll run with it nonetheless.

Greg was a bit under weather this week. Fortunately, not H1N1 or other seasonal flu under weather, but more like day-long stomach discomfort that knocked him out. As the day went on and Greg was feeling better, I realized fairly quickly that he would need to eat something that was "real food" without sending his stomach back into a downward spiral.

I poked around the kitchen and found another trusty butternut squash. Yes, I've been buying these up at probably too great a clip, but I just can't say no 1) to tasty seasonal food and 2) a sale. I was wondering if I could turn this bulbous beast into a tasty soup, and after some poking around, I found a recipe from Weight Watchers for curried butternut soup, so I gave it a shot.

After making this soup, I think this is a new favorite that will be in the rotation. First, for those that are a little unsure of curry, let me say that you can't actually taste curry in the final product, and the soup doesn't get spicy when you add it. Instead, the toasted curry powder adds a depth of flavor that gives the soup body, but you can't put your finger on what that ingredient is, so I would definitely recommend you try it. Second, once you prep the vegetables, this soup just cooks itself. That is definitely a big thumbs up here; anything that tends to itself is a friend of mine. Finally, you can easily make this ahead of time and reheat it. Greg and I had some of the leftovers later, and it was still delicious.

And, I am pleased to report that the soup did the trick for curing Greg, on many levels. While the vegetables were roasting, Greg perked up at the smell. I brought him the soup, and he sat up and slurped it down, and then had seconds! He said it was delicious and felt comforted, which are all important things.

On a final note, maybe what "ails you" isn't sickness, but figuring out what to bring for Thanksgiving. This dish would be great. It is easy to make ahead of time and can either stay warm in a slow cooker or be quickly reheated on the stove. It's festive for the season and easy to handle, either if you're the host or bringing a dish along. Two thumbs up from our house!

Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from Weight Watchers)
Yields: 12 servings (1 serving = 3/4 cup)

One butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
One medium onion, peeled and chopped into large pieces
32 ounces vegetable stock (one of the cardboard boxes from the store)
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper

1) Put squash and onion in a roasting pan. Cover with the vegetable stock. Place in preheated 425 degree oven for one hour, stirring occasionally. (If some of the vegetables brown, don't worry.).
2) Remove vegetables from oven and puree. If you are using an immersion blender, cool for about five minutes and then puree until smooth. If you are using a regular blender or a food processor, cool for about 15 minutes so you don't hurt yourself with ridiculously hot vegetables and puree in batches.
3) Toast the curry powder in a nonstick pan on the stove at medium high heat for about two minutes. Stir continuously so the powder doesn't burn.
4) Mix the curry powder and a couple cracks of salt and pepper into soup.

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