Classic butternut squash winter soup
December 28 2017 10:20 PM
DELICIOUS: The soup has everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t to be simply delicious. Photo by the author

Especially in winter, there’s nothing better than dunking crusty sourdough bread into a big bowl of creamy pumpkin soup. The below recipe is one of my favourite which I tasted some years ago while working aboard a cruise ship and ever since I have been a fan of this winter delicacy. The coconut milk adds charm to this soup. Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter squash vegetables, and are available in the produce shelves of all the hypermarkets, and what a tasty way to help usher and be healthy in winter.
Butternut squash is not found all over the world, but it has made its way into the culinary creations of certain countries, including South Africa, Europe, and Australia, but it is primarily found in the United States. Aside from the ease of preparing butternut squash as a delicious meal, people also seek out this squash for its rich concentration of nutrients, about the nutritional aspects of this squash let me tell you that it has more vitamin A than that of a pumpkin, that makes it great for healthy skin and healthy eye sight. Butternut squash is composed of many vital poly phenolic anti oxidants and vitamins. It is low in calories, one serving contains only 50 calories. Butternut squash seeds can be eaten as a nitrites snack food just like pumpkin seeds.
Its unique flavour can be used in both sweet and savour dishes. It can be used in a variety of delicious recipes as baked, stewed, fried, mashed and roasted.
Use it in soups, stews, casseroles, pies, sauce vegetables, mash or any number of yummy, comfort food style dishes for a healthy and pure winter-flavoured dish. This squash is native to North America and is believed to have been specifically cultivated in Massachusetts. Butternut squash grows on a vine and has the peculiar shape of an elongated bell. Scientifically known as Cucurbita moschata, it was made by cross-breeding Gooseneck squash and Hubbard squash a member of pumpkin family, butternut squash has a pleasant nutty flavour and mildly sweet taste. It’s one of the signature flavours that usher in the changing of the seasons.
While shopping for butternut squash at the market, look for mature product that features a fine woody note on tapping, and feels heavy in hand. Its stem should be stout and firmly attached to the fruit. Avoid those with wrinkled surface, abnormal spots, cuts, and bruises. Whenever possible, buy long neck butternut fruit, as it contains more meat and fewer hollow cavities and seeds. (Unless, of course, you intend to eat the seeds, then shorter neck squash is your best bet)
To store it at home, well-ripened squash can be stored for many weeks (even months) in a cool, humid-free, well-ventilated place at room temperature. However, cut sections should be placed inside the refrigerator where they keep well for 3-4 days.
Well, to summarise there are many fancied up versions of pumpkin soup with gourmet ingredients, spices, herbs, exotic spins. But winter evenings always call for comfort food rather than complex recipes and long list of ingredients. But you don’t need all those frills to make a truly great classic appetising pumpkin soup. And that’s what my recipe is – a great and easy pumpkin soup recipe, a classic version that has everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t to be simply delicious.

Squash and coconut soup

Butternut squash 2.5 lb
Yellow onion 1 nos
Garlic cloves 2 nos
Vegetable broth 3 cups
Water 2 cups
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Curry powder 1 tsp
Coconut milk 1/2 cup
Cooking cream 1/2 cup (optional)
Parsley to garnish
Pine nuts to garnish

Peel the pumpkin and deseed it, cut into chunks and keep aside.
In a heavy bottom pan heat butter over slow flame and add garlic, onion and pumpkin dices and curry powder.
Sauce the mixture over medium heat for 4-6 minutes.
Add vegetable broth and water and bring to boil reduce heat and simmer over slow flame until pumpkin is tender.
Remove from heat and blend to make the mixture smooth. 
Season with salt and pepper and add coconut cream and cooking cream.
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle over some cream, sprinkle with pepper, garnish with parsley and pine nuts along with bread sticks.
Note: Do not over boil the soup after adding the cream. To make a vegan version of this soup use olive oil to sauce the vegetable sea finish with coconut cream in the end.

* Chef Tarun Kapoor,  Culinary Mastermind,  USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]

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