I love making soups. In any form, with any ingredients, at any time of year. A common denominator of all my soups is a general sense of rustic casualness. None are too fussy or perfect, rather they are a reflection of the ingredients I have on hand, presented in a humble way. There is something to be said, however, to a fancy restaurant-style pureed soup. You know what I’m talking about - the silky smooth perfection that tastes like liquid velvet and often involves cream and all the butter (which is delicious). It’s all a bit too coiffed for my daily cooking. Not my style, but delicious all the same.
It wasn’t until I decided to create a soup with some squash I had on my counter, that I realized, I too could make a restaurant-quality pot of pureed perfection, all while maintaining the simple and adaptable method of my other go-to soups. The secret is a two-parter. One: squash. When blended, it transforms into the most luxurious smooth puree. Two: a high-speed blender. You can use an immersion blender here (my fave), but I have found that for max creaminess, the vitamix is the way to go. Be very careful when blending - I have found that, possibly more than any other vegetable, squash retains a shocking amount of heat. When it is ready to blend, it is molten lava, so blend in small batches, not filling more than half of the blender at a time, and use caution! Similarly, when peeling the squash, bare in mind how much heat they can retain long after being removed from the oven.
One of the best things about this soup is that it can be made in stages and in advance. You can roast the squash up to a few days in advance and store it in the fridge, making for the quickest, most nourishing and delicious weeknight supper. And as it only contains a handful of ingredients, some of which are grown locally, it is ideal to make in the cold winter months. Where I live, squash grows well into the cold season, so is readily available in winter.
Although this appears to be a fancy soup, it is anything but. As with all my other recipes, substitutions are welcome and encouraged! I have used many different varieties of onion here (even leeks once, which was delicious), a few different varieties of squash (I wouldn’t recommend using spaghetti, but any as long as they create about the same amount of volume as an acorn and a butternut combined) and have experimented with different herbs and spices (turmeric is a delicious addition).
No matter which way you make it, it is unbelievably decadent and nourishing at once. You will surprise yourself, I guarantee it. If you can't find acorn squash, 2 butternuts will do!
COCONUT SQUASH SOUP WITH GINGER
Makes 1 large pot
1 acorn squash
1 butternut squash
3 Tbs coconut oil
1 onion, roughly diced
2 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tsp chili flakes
4 cups spring water
1 can coconut milk
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and lay cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes or until they are tender. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly.
In the meantime, heat coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Saute onion and ginger until fragrant but not browned (2-3 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and chili flakes and stir to combine.
Carefully peel the skin off the warm squash. Break the peeled squash up slightly into large chunks and add to the pot. Stir into the onion and ginger mixture.
Add water and coconut milk, turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and cover for 20 minutes.
Using a high-speed blender or an immersion blender, blend until creamy and smooth or until desired consistency is reached. If the soup looks too thick to your taste, add a touch more water.