Squash-Apple Soup with Thai Red Curry
The colorful kings of the winter garden, squash of all types are packed with beta-carotene and other vital nutrients. Plus, they taste divinely buttery and sweet. Salvador has grown many varieties of squash at Tres Estrellas over the years, but has settled on acorn and butternut (with the occasional pumpkin) as the most practical for kitchen use.
Thai curry paste gives a tiny zing of spice to balance the sweetness of the soup. For a very special occasion, you could serve the soup in hollowed out miniature pumpkins or small squash.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
- 1 apple, cored, peeled, and diced
- 2 leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
- ½ stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (see Note)
- 4 cups basic Vegetable Stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
- Thinly sliced chives
- Thin strips of orange zest (optional)
1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the squash, apple, leeks, carrot, celery, and basil and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened; do not brown. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the stock, water, brown sugar, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
2. Cool for 30 minutes, then, in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until absolutely smooth.
3. Reheat and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Serve very hot, with a sprinkling of chives and the orange and zest, if desired.
Note: Thai red curry paste tastes nothing like Indian curry. Sold in small jars, the paste is pungent and quite spicy, and it will last months in the refrigerator.