Buttercup Squash Soup with Coconut & Curry
Hurricane Sandy is currently making her grand entrance into New York’s Hudson Valley, sweeping the leaves off the trees and filling our streets with water. In preparation, I’ve cooked. James tended to the outdoor tie-down yesterday, and I stocked the cabinets and fired up the stove. Slow cooker braised chicken, quinoa pilaf, pasta salad, pumpkin muffins and this curried buttercup squash soup. It’s one of my go-to fall soups—it’s thick and warming with a hint of heat that’s tempered by coconut. It will be an easy but delicious dinner to heat-up on our small butane stove if the power goes out.
I love buttercup squash for it’s rich, sweet flesh, but butternut also works great in this soup. Don’t feel tied down by the measurements. Like all soups, adjust the flavors and seasonings according to what you like and/or have. Serve this with warm naan bread or brown rice, preferably with a few candles flickering on the table, power out or not.
I hope that all of my East Coast friends are safe and dry and have a bowl of something delicious nearby!
- 1 3 ½ to 4 pound buttercup or butternut squash
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (large flakes)
- 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- Juice of half lime
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and bake until the flesh is tender when pierced with a small knife, 45 minutes-1 hour. Let cool, then scoop out the flesh (you should have roughly 4 cups). Do Ahead: The cooked squash can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- While the squash bakes, toast the coconut flakes. Spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until light golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks, ginger and minced chile with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the curry powder, cinnamon and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the reserved squash, brown sugar, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in the coconut milk and 3 cups of water. Stir, breaking up the large chunks of squash with a wooden spoon. Increase the heat to medium-high; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 20 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or by using a hand blender; be careful when you’re blending hot liquids! Pour the pureed soup back into a saucepan. If you wish, add water until you reach a desired consistency. Squeeze in the lime juice, and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until warmed through.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the toasted coconut and cilantro.