I have a confession. I stayed in bed this morning. I broke a verbal to my November Project family and chose bed over them. I am not proud of my behavior, but we all have moments of weakness. I blame mine on the fact that it was actually cold (by California standards) and raining this morning. This is really not a legitimate excuse, but it’s the best I have. To make it up to my tribe, here is my recipe for warming butternut squash soup. It’s sweet and spicy and really good for you. My version of this fall staple is pretty flexible and can withstand quite a bit of adjustment based on your desires. In its most basic form it is vegan, gluten free, paleo and probably a whole lot of other things too. But its a great base to which you can add a myriad of accoutrements, including but not limited to, prawns, peas, turkey sausage and kale. This soup re-heats really well and I tend to take it for lunch in “cold” winter months.
2 Medium Butternut Squash
1 Large Shallot
6 cups of Vegetable Stock or water (note: you can buy vegetable stock as well but I prefer to make my own. Water is fine, but vegetable stock adds more flavor depth and nutrients to your soup)
1.5 Tablespoons of Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes
2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
Salt to taste
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then prepare squash for baking: quarter the squash and scoop out the seeds, set aside. Brush about a tablespoon of coconut oil on the squash. Use more if there doesn’t seem to be enough coverage. Place the squash face up on a baking tray. I use my turkey roasting pan
2. Bake squash until soft – about 1 hour.
3. While the squash is baking, make your vegetable stock: Chop onion and sautee in ghee, add in chopped carrots, celery, mushrooms, red pepper, a bay leaf and cover in water. Cover and simmer until squash is ready.
4. When the squash has cooled, scoop out the baked squash and set aside.
5. Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a large pot over medium heat and add chopped shallot when the pot is hot. Sweat the shallot for about 5 minutes until they start to become translucent. Make sure the shallots are still covered in ghee, you will need them to be lubricated for when you add the spice.
6. Add the garam masala and chili flakes and stir until the onions are coated. Adding the spices now releases more of their flavor and depth. Cook another 2 minutes, but be careful not to burn them.
7. Add the squash and stir the shallot and spice mixture around as best you can.
8. Add the vegetable stock. If it is not just covering the squash add water until it is.
9. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
10. Blend! I prefer to use an immersion blender because it is a lot easier and less messy but if you don’t have one you can pour in batches into a regular blender of food processor. Just be sure to remix it all up at the end.
11. Add salt to taste & garnish with crushed pecans if you like
I like to add frozen peas to mine. They add a little crunch and a touch of sweetness that I really like.
Medium sized prawns (or shrimp) are also a really nice touch.
I also tend to add about twice as much chili flakes because the heat works really well with the natural sweetness of the squash and the depth of the garam masala.
Sometimes I also make my own turkey sausage and add that if I’m feeling like I need more protein