Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Soup For You!

Why no soup for you? Because that leaves more for me! First off let me apologize. This is my worst food photo of all time. I have an excuse. It slipped my mind to take a picture until my hubby (Who didn't get home to eat his dinner until close to 9) was about to dig in! Stop! I need a picture! so I hurried and snapped this out of focus, poorly orchestrated image. Now that is a good husband who will wait to dig in after a long day to indulge his silly wife.

Anyway, as I mentioned before...I LOVE soup. Once September hits, its one soup a week at our house. They are cheap and satisfying and always leave leftovers. So this week the soup in the spotlight is a lovely hearty butternut squash beauty. I actually love having squash in my garden primarily because they make such lovely soup. We have 2 squash soup recipes that we love in our house. The first, which is the one pictured is a more rich and savory. It comes from Jamie Oliver, one of my favorite celeb chefs. The second soup, is a sweet & spicy curry with coconut milk which I absolutely adore. I have made it several times for guest and they always rave about it! Both soups are equally delicious.

Jamie's Superb Squash Soup as found on his site here
the only modification I made is that I have never used the sage leaves. I am sure they would be delicious, but I don't have them in my garden and don't really fancy the idea of spending a few dollars on a garnish. One day I'll try them. I have made the croutons and they are yummy!

• olive oil
• 16 fresh sage leaves
2 red onion, peeled and chopped
• 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
• ½–1 fresh red chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2kg butternut squash, onion squash, or musque de Provence, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
• 2 litres good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
• extra virgin olive oil

for the croutons
• extra virgin olive oil
16 slices of ciabatta bread
• a block of Parmesan cheese, for grating
Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with kitchen paper – you’ll use these for sprinkling over at the end. In the pan you’ll be left with a beautifully flavoured oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.

While the soup is cooking, make your croutons. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ciabatta slices, pat it in and press some grated Parmesan on to each side. Place in a non-stick pan without any oil and fry until golden on both sides.

When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a liquidizer and pulse until you have a smooth purée (but you can leave it slightly chunky if you like). Most importantly, remember to taste and season it until it’s perfect. Divide the soup between your bowls, placing 2 croutons on top of each. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a swirl of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Red Curry & Coconut Squash Soup
I found this recipe on a local foodie blog, Restaurant Widow.

One medium butternut squash about 2 lbs

2 tbsp butter or good olive oil
2 tbsp garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger
1 14 ounce can lite coconut milk
14 ounces chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you'd like to keep things vegetarian)
1/2 tbsp - 1 1/2 tbsp red curry paste, depending on how you like your heat level. I'd start with less, because you can always add more but you can't take away!
1/4 cup brown sugar
Cut the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place it in a steaming basket and steam for about 20-25 minutes, or until very soft. You could also bake the squash if you prefer. Be sure the water doesn't boil out! Allow to cool until you can handle the squash, and then scoop out the flesh. Mash lightly with a fork and set aside.
Have the coconut milk can open and nearby.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium/medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic/ginger puree and cook for a few minutes, just until the butter begins to brown very slightly - be careful, because this can lead to burning very quickly. Everything should smell sweet and nutty. As soon as this happens, add the coconut milk. Fill the empty coconut milk can with chicken stock, and add that to the pot. Add the curry paste, the brown sugar, the fish sauce, and a nice big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to reduce slightly, maybe 5 minutes or so, then add the squash. Turn the heat off and puree the soup with a stick blender. Taste and adjust seasonings. If desired, you can garnish the soup with a little bit of coconut creme, which is a different product from coconut milk, and is very sweet - it makes a nice foil for the spiciness of the soup.


  1. These sound yummy! And the picture was still better than our french toast casserole one on the paper plate!

  2. These do sound delicious. And try as I might, I can never get my pictures to look good. I think I've maybe taken two good pictures that I have posted on this site (for the Thai Beef and Rice and for the berry pie).

    I blame it on two things: the fact that I am not artistically inclined, and the fact that I have two very impatient and hungry boys (my husband and son) and that leads to very rushed pictures!