Monday, October 24, 2011
Great Fall Warmer - Squash Peanut Soup
Continuing my transition to cool weather eating I present my first soup of the season. This time of year we can overload on squash in New England, with all the typical, and a few lesser known, varieties showing up at every farmstand you pass. Before Thanksgiving each year Margot and I typically buy the bulk bag from one of the nearby farms from which we get a mashup of squash with the price per pound for the tasty local stuff around fifty cents.
For me squash soup is just slightly less obvious of a use for the bounty than pie or straight-up baking it. I didn’t used to be a soup eater, but being a squash lover I have found my way to soup with it. Two of the ingredients that I commonly use in my squash soup or curry’s are peanut butter and curry from either powder or paste. These flavors really do work well together. I just have to watch the spice or Margot will get mad at me!
1 large white onion, sliced
1 medium red pepper, chopped
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic paste
4 cups vegetable broth
1 large butternut squash, cubed
1 cup shredded carrot
6 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp cilantro paste
1 cup frozen plain green peas
1 1/2 cups cooked basmati rice, with 2 tbsp cumin seeds
Heat a large stock pot oven over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray, add the olive oil and allow to heat. Add the onion, pepper, and celery, cooking until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook for several minutes until the aromatics are strong, stirring constantly. Add the broth, squash, and carrot; bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is tender. Cook the rice using your favorite method. I use a rice cooker and it takes about 15-20 minutes for this amount; so starting it here will ensure it is cooked and ready to go. Stir in the peanut butter and simmer for several additional minutes. Stir in the peas and cilantro paste. Cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Serve over the rice while still hot. Salt and season to taste.
There you have it, a great meal to warm you up after a day of yard work! I didn’t take any pictures of the dish during or after cooking on the count of the yard work and my desire to drink a bunch of beers to ward off the soreness that I could already feel coming on.
p.s. Marie, I'm glad you like this soup so much. I've got more all vegetable dishes that I bet you will like just as much. We'll have to conspire on some wine pairings for vegetarian delights.