Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Warm Yourself Inside and Out With Curried Squash and Apple Soup

Winter arrived late this year in Iowa. Last Thursday we finally got our true snowfall of the season, and I woke up to a fluffy, white winter land. The roads were slick and I didn't have time to shovel my driveway before work. I got a ride to work and made the one mile trek back to my house with the snow biting at my face. I was ecstatic to finally be able to test my new winter boots to their full potential. They are one of the best purchases I have made in a long time. I returned home with toasty, dry feet, and I don't even have to wear socks with them! I got the North Face Amore boots in brown. I am in love with them. If you want to take a look or purchase them check out Zappos.com, free shipping both ways! Love it!
The North Face Amore Boot in Brown

During my walk home I began to think about making something that would warm the rest of me from the inside out. I have been itching to try a recipe from my favorite soup cook book (which I mention in a previous blog post), called Curried Squash and Apple Soup. Squash is a wholesome, tasty vegetable and I have found that it makes wonderful soup.

Curried Squash and Apple Soup
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course, or 8 as a first course

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds and fibers removed
1/4  cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons black mustard seeds
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
10 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons very finely chopped peeled ginger
4 cups vegetable broth
lime juice, to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For Serving
1 lime, sliced across into very thin rounds
3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
 raisins (optional)
slivered almonds (optional)
rice (optional)


1. Heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Roast the squash cut-side up in a roasting pan for 50 minutes, or until soft. Scoop the pulp from the squash.

2. In a medium saucepan, stir together the vegetable oil and mustard seeds over medium heat until the seeds are popping (be careful-it is very easy to burn the spices if the oil gets too hot). Stir in the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat for about 1 minute.

3. Stir in the apples, squash, onion, garlic, ginger, and broth. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the apples and onion are soft.

4. In a food processor, working in batches, puree the soup. The soup can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

5. Return the soup to the pot and heat through. Season with the lime juice and salt. Top each serving with a thin slice of lime and dollop of yogurt.

Note: To serve as a main course add slivered almonds and raisins on top. Serve rice on the side.

My variations: I couldn't find black mustard seeds so I omitted those. I had a large butternut squash on hand; I used that instead of acorn squash, and whole almonds are just as tasty as slivered.

Curried Squash and Apple Soup

The smell of curry perfumed the air as I made this soup. I ate it that night for dinner as a meal with rice, almonds, raisins, and yogurt. It is a velvety thick, creamy soup. The tartness of the apples, lime, and yogurt was the perfect symphony to the sweetness of the squash and raisins. The curry powder added the exact amount of spiciness, just enough to warm me from the first snowfall of the season. For a vegetarian soup, it is very filling and satisfying. I thought I would have to have a snack later on but I was content and warm as the snow continued to fall outside.

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