We woke up to a chilly, windy, rainy day today. Some people might not appreciate a Monday morning so gray, but I love it. Mornings like this one were not an unusual occurrence growing up in Minnesota or during our few years in Japan. Here in Colorado, it's typically a different story. We are blessed with lots of sunshine and blue skies which, as surprising as it may be to some, can get very boring. I love a good dose of vitamin D, but everyone needs a cloudy day to curl up under a blanket with a warm bowl of soup on their lap and a good movie on the television.
I'm a big fan of watching When Harry Met Sally this time of year. What are your favorites?
I love soups that require very little effort but result in a kitchen filled with delicious smells. This butternut squash soup is the perfect example. The main ingredients are all roasted on a large sheet pan with some olive oil. Forty-five minutes later, beautifully roasted and slightly golden, the onions, squash and garlic are tossed into a pot with some stock. Then the whole lot is blended to a beautifully creamy texture and dressed up with some Asian seasonings like coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice.
The great thing about this is that it is a fun twist on a classic soup. I even add nutmeg, just as you would with a more traditional recipe. I think this is a great transition recipe when you're going from summer to fall thanks to the summery flavors of coconut and ginger.
And while we're talking about putting a new twist on classic recipes, I've discovered that this is the absolute best way to introduce new flavors to my little toddler. His taste buds are pretty conditioned to foods with lots of flavor (for example, he insisted on eating his fathers mildly spicy Pad Thai the other day rather than his blander, sweeter rice noodles with peanut sauce), but sometimes he resists trying new things. He already loved the flavor of butternut squash, so adding some new ingredients to this soup helped ease him into some tastes we don't have on a daily basis.
If you're feeling a little skiddish about welcoming fall into your life (clearly not the case for me, but maybe it is for some of you), this might be just what you need. Cozy and comforting for fall with bright and flavorful hints of summer.
Butternut Squash + Coconut Soup
- One 2-3 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (make it veg by using vegetable stock)
- One 12 oz can coconut milk (light or regular)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle it with the olive oil. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Scatter the onion slices and garlic cloves around the squash pieces, tossing to coat in oil.
- Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the onions and garlic from the pan and place them in a bowl. Set aside. Return the squash to the oven and roast another 20 minutes or until easily punctured with a knife.
- Allow the squash to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh out with an ice cream scoop or large spoon. Put the squash flesh, onions and garlic in a pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Alternatively, put the soup in a blender in small batches, cover with a towel and blend until smooth. Always be careful blending hot liquids because they can explode. Big mess. Also, ouch.
- Return the soup to the original pot over medium-low heat and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, ground ginger, nutmeg and soy sauce. Heat through, then remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.