One of my very favourite things to do is to buy an item I have no idea how to prepare, then spend an afternoon looking up different ways to cook this item. I usually find a few I like and then combine them and hope it tastes good. Sometimes it’s decent, other times it’s raddichio, and on some other really special occasions, I send a OH MY GOSH I AM A CULINARY GODDESS text to a friend.
This weekend I made something new. I have no experience eating or cooking with curry, so it scares me a little. The smell is upsetting to me. But because I am stubborn and I decided I was going to like curry, I bought some. I also bought a butternut squash and some coconut milk because none of my life choices make sense, apparently. I cook with squash on a fairly regular basis (it’s the Mennonite in me), but coconut milk is new. So hey, why not find a recipe that combines all of these things? OKAY! COOL! The results were I AM A CULINARY GODDESS spectacular, so I had to share.
This is the first time I’ve ever published one of my slightly made up recipes and I’m feeling a little vulnerable. It’s going to be long. It might not make sense, but it’ll be entertaining. I promise.
Curried Apple & Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1-2 tbsp curry powder
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
1 ½ – 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
Salt & Pepper
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Because I am roughly the same size as a butternut squash, I find this task quite difficult. I do have a wonderful, marvelous Global chef’s knife that makes this job a little bit easier. But I have a better solution: make a big hulking man do this part. It’ll make him feel masculine and like he contributed to the meal. Make sure you act all sweet and helpless, to really play this up. A frilly apron might help. All of you strong, independent women who don’t need no man will just have to cut that squash yourself. Sorry.
Lightly coat the cut sides of the squash with olive oil – the extra virgin kind. Which now begs the question: can people be extra virgin, too? Think about it. Grind some salt and pepper on that beast, and sprinkle some curry powder on it. You’ll thank me later. Drizzle a tablespoon or two of honey on it. Trust me.
Put it cut side up into a shallow baking dish, with about an inch of water. Stick it in the oven to roast at 400 or 425. I don’t think it matters. Check it after 35 or 40 minutes. It might take up to an hour. I have no idea. I’m sure there’s a science to this, but I’m not familiar with it. Amanda’s science: poke it with something relatively sharp. If it’s soft, it’s done. If it still feels a little crunchy, it’s not.
Now, just before the squash is done (again, I have no idea how long that will take), you get to sauté some delicious nonsense.
I used Jazz apples, which sound like the really high brow sophisticates of apples. I’m quite classy. I used two and a half apples. Because that’s what I had in my fridge, okay? Because I only eat apples a half at a time, okay? Because I cut and core my apples before I eat them, okay? Because I refuse to eat an apple off the core, okay? BECAUSE I AM HIGH MAINTENANCE, OKAY? STOP ASKING QUESTIONS.
Sauté the apples, onion and garlic in some EVOO (or butter if you’re feeling a little naughty). You could also maybe throw in some carrots? Ooooooor potatoes? JUST THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES! Sauté for about 10 minutes. Make ‘em sweat until they’re soft. Add the ginger, a few more grinds/dashes of salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of curry powder. Or more, if you like. I am scared of curry, so I added it cautiously. And prayed a little before I put it in, for good measure. Scrape the roasted squash from the skin and add it to this mixture. I can’t explain how wonderful this smell is. I really wish Wonka’s Smellavision was a real thing. You really must experience it for yourself.
Pour in the can of coconut milk and the stock. I put closer to two cups of stock in because it seemed a little thick. If you used apples that are a little more tart, you could drizzle more honey in the pot at this point as well. Or if your honey is crystalized and hard like mine, it would be more of a plop than a drizzle. Bring to a boil, totally forget about it like I did, hope the raging boil didn’t wreck your food, and then turn down the heat. Let it simmer uncovered, for 20 minutes. At this point everything will smell wonderful. However, don’t eat a Birthday Cake flavoured M&M in the midst of this scent experience. Your senses will be very confused and everything will be awful for a short period of time.
Blend with an immersion or regular blender until creamy and delicious.
Pro tip: make sure the lid is on your blender and the machine is turned off before you place the pitcher in the base. Splattered boiling hot soup hurts. Not that I have any experience in this department. None at all.
Wipe up the soup that has splattered all over your clothes and countertop. Uh. I mean. Only if you’re totally dumb and didn’t follow that pro tip. Or something.
Put your soup in a pretty bowl. It will be sweet at first and then the curry will give you a nice slow (mild) burn after. It is truly an experience. Please enjoy responsibly.
Have you ever made up your own recipe?