Right next to taffy apples and pumpkin spice lattes, butternut squash soup is one of my favorite fall foods.
But I have to admit this dish gives me pause. There’s always the cost-benefit analysis that goes into any decision — and making soup is no different.
On the plus side, this version combines the classic creamy soup with the warming flavors of Thai cuisine — red curry paste, ginger, lemongrass and fresh lime.
In the red column, this is going to require a certain amount of effort. First, there’s the shopping. I don’t typically have curry paste, lemongrass or even fresh ginger on hand.
Then there’s the prep work. This soup definitely requires a bit of elbow grease — peeling the ginger, smashing the lemongrass. Never mind, cutting the squash itself — an onerous task, to be certain.
Not to sound lazy, but is this going to be worth all the trouble?
The answer is a definite yes. Add to the plus side, this recipe serves 12, so it’s perfect for a holiday starter or you can plan on freezing half.
Or you can do what I did and just kept eating it. Worth. Every. Minute.
• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald’s director of strategic marketing and innovation and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com.
Red Curry Squash Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3 pounds buttercup squash — peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
5 cups water
2 13.5-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and sliced ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until soft, 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime zest and lemon grass, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes more. Discard the lemongrass. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Add it back in to the pot. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt. Top with scallions when serving.
Adapted from foodandwine.com