curried coconut-squash soup

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
35 minutes

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curried squash soup

There’s a guy at my local farmers’ market with the whackiest business plan — he sells hard-shelled squash that he cuts into big chunks on a board sticking out from the back of his truck. The flesh of the squash is so vividly orange that you can see it from across the street. The only other thing he offers is broccoli and walnuts. He’s also the loudest person at the market, yakking it up with customers in an Alabama accent even though he was born and raised in Oakland, and barking out offers of homemade cornmeal cookies to kids. I love this guy. He’s a total salesman.

So let’s just say I’ve ended up with a lot of squash lately. Which forces me to work with what I’ve got on hand, in the spirit of Covid creativity. I’ve roasted it with maple syrup and smoked paprika, I’ve put it on top of cauliflower puree, I’ve flavored it with gochujang and sesame seeds. But the easiest thing is to blend it into soup, which also can be made in various ways. Curry and ginger are the base notes, but if you have miso on hand, stir that in. If you have a jar of Thai curry paste you are wondering what to do with, stir a bit of that in. Or use some gochujang (in powder or paste form) if you have that.

And look for pre-cut squash to save yourself time. Especially if you can find it from a character at the farmers’ market wielding his own knife.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 whole shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
kosher salt
1 tablespoon white or yellow miso or gochujang, or 1 teaspoon Thai-style curry paste
1 lb peeled, cubed kabocha, butternut, kuri or other hard-shelled squash (from 1-1/2 lbs whole squash)
1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth (or water, if using miso)

In a large saucepan or pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, a big pinch of salt and the miso, gochujang, or curry paste. Stir for 30 seconds to blend the flavors. Add the squash, the coconut milk, and the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until you can mash a piece of squash against the side of the pan with a spoon. Turn off heat and let sit before blending — if you are using an immersion blender, you can do it right away; if you are using a regular blender, wait until the soup is cool so it won’t scald you when you blend it.  Serve warm or refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days.