At its core, squash soup is simple. At its best, it explodes with flavor. The version I share here is a household favorite.
I start by pulling out homegrown vegetables that I’ve stored into winter: a butternut squash, kabocha, sugar pumpkin or other variety, plus onion, potato, carrot and garlic. These vegetables couldn’t be easier to keep on hand. If you cure them in a dry, shaded area so that their skins toughen and then stash them in a cool, dry place, they can last for months. Local farmers often sell these storage vegetables in fall’s waning days. If you didn’t stock up, they’re easy to buy throughout winter.
These ingredients seem basic, but roasting compounds their flavor. Yes, there are a couple of extra pans to wash and you’re using both the stovetop and the oven, but a light caramelizing gives the soup an unbeatable taste. I cheat on the cleanup by using my stockpot when prepping and cooking but happily wash two pans emptied of evenly roasted vegetables.
The final flavor boost comes from the seasonings. Curry powder shines when bloomed in the pot at the beginning of stovetop cooking, and lemon juice gives a bright overtone when splashed in last. My homemade curry blend is quite similar to World Spice’s Madras South Indian Curry, which you can pick up at their Columbia Falls outpost. Some curry mixes may have more heat or even include salt, so taste and adjust before serving.
Roasted and Curried Squash Soup
5 pounds squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1–2 teaspoons curry powder
6 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Rub 1 tablespoon of oil around two 9-by-13 inch baking pans. In a stockpot, toss the squash, onion, potato and carrot, plus the unpeeled garlic cloves, with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Divide between the pans, cover with foil and roast at 425°F for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, stir the vegetables and roast for an additional five to 10 minutes, until soft.
When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into the stockpot. Stir in the other roasted vegetables and curry powder; bring to a sizzle over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the stock, raise the heat to medium-high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes, until the flavors are blended.
Using an immersion blender or an upright blender in batches, puree until smooth. Taste, adding the lemon juice, salt and more curry powder as needed. Remove from the heat and serve topped with roasted seeds, if desired.
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