Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Test Kitchen

First of all, last night I had a triumphant return to Bikram after several days away. Thanks to the holiday for some (not for me-boo), class wasn't as jammed as it usually is. I am glad that I will have more time to devote to class. I only have about a month until my beachy vacation, so I have to tone all I can! It's great motivation not to sink my weary self into the couch never to return. I've also licked my nasty cold! Triumph!

A week ago, with only a little time to spare I knew I had to get a grab-n-go lunch soup made for the week, and I needed to use up a beautiful butternut squash I had. I decided it was the perfect time to test out the Thanksgiving Contender of Ina Garten's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Curry Condiments.

The Recipe:
For the Soup:
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used Knorr Vegetable Boullion)
1/2 teaspoon good curry powder

For the Condiments:
Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally
Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped
Diced banana

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash, onions and apples in 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Divide the squash mixture between 2 sheet pans and spread it in a single layer. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until very tender. I tried peeling the squash to cube it per Ina's instructions, but I am pretty sure peeling hard squash is one of the most tedious, dangerous, and awful tasks ever, so I roasted it the standard way. Split down the middle, seeds scooped, face down. I also just used one sheet pan.

Meanwhile, heat the stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, put them through a food mill fitted with the medium blade. (Alternatively, you can place the roasted vegetables in batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add some of the stock and coarsely puree.)
When all of the vegetables are processed, place them in a large pot and add enough stock to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings to be sure there's enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor. Reheat and serve hot with condiments either on the side or on top of each serving.
I couldn't wait until the next day to taste it! I made a baby bowl in one of my favorite sauce dishes and garnished with green onion and banana. I didn't have cashews or coconut, but I am certain they are delicious as well. (Seriously, I use these Crate & Barrel sauce dishes all the time for food prep, making flavored Earth Balance butters and to control portions with snacks.)
As with most recipes I try, I would have preferred some garlic, but overall, this soup was a sweet and savory delight. The next time I dished up a bowl, I added some cumin for extra spice and even more green onion. In true soup fashion this was even yummier the next day.

*Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.


  1. I keep seeing recipes for butternut squash soup and am excited to have a go at it. Is the curry flavor really strong though? I am not a huge curry fan but could totally rock out with some cumin. And I love the idea of bananas on top.

    PS-Thanks for the 1985 link, I loved it!

  2. @Shakes-The curry isn't strong....add cumin-it's a delight! The bananas are such a surprising joy on top!!! I usually don't like nuts in my entrees (like in Thai food and such) but I think it would be so good with this soup. I just don't have control when I have jars of nuts in the house and my grocery store didn't have a small snack pack. Next time, next time.