Gastronomic Shenanigans – Dairy Free, Creamy Curried Squash Soup

P1040970For those autumn days when the crisp chill enters the air, or those flat-out cold, blustery winter nights, this soup can put some warm back into your muscles.  If you are struggling with joint and muscle pain, consider adding a tablespoon turmeric to the soup, as it reduces pain by increasing circulation.

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil

4 cups of a orange-fleshed squash puree (butternut, hubbard, banana squash…)

1 onion

2-4 cloves garlic

1/2 inch ginger root

1/8 cup curry powder

pinch of cumin

pinch chili powder/paprika (optional) or optional top with siracha

2 T tamari sauce (or soy sauce if you can handle gluten)

4 cups stock, chicken or veggie

1 can coconut milk  (optional)

1 cup cashews

Cooking instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds, guts, and stringy bits.

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If your squash is a large banana or hubbard squash, then you will need to cut it up into smaller chunks for your roasting pan or glass casserole dishes.P1040955

One small hubbard will fit into our roasting pan. Any larger and we need to employ the roasting pan and few glass casserole dishes. Fill your roasting pan(s) with up 1/2 inch with water. Place the squash face down in the water and transfer to the oven. If you just have one pan, the squash should be done in about 45 – 60 minutes. Put a timer on for 40 just to be safe, and check the squash with a fork. When the squash is easily pierced with a fork, then it is done.  P1040957

By easily pierced, I mean a similar resistance as piercing a stick of butter.

If you have a lot of squash in your oven, then the cooking time will increase. Just keep checking it. Once the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool enough for handling it.

P1040963When you can handle the squash, use a spoon to scoop the squash meat from the rind. Put it in a blender or food processor with a little water or stock. Blend until a smooth puree is formed. If you end up with more than 4 cups of squash puree, consider freezing the rest for future culinary adventures.P1040964

Now that your puree is made, you can move on to finishing up your soup.

Roughly chop the onion and mince the garlic.  Heat the oil in a thick, bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium.  Once the oil is warm, add the onion and garlic.  Stir occasionally until the onion is translucent.  About 1-2 minutes.

Add the stock and squash puree.  Add the curry powder, cumin, tamari, and any optional spices to the soup.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Taste test the soup and adjust any flavors to your liking, ie- add extra tamari or extra curry to bring the soup to your favorite spice profile.  When this is achieved, you can consider your soup done, or you can  make the soup creamy by either adding one can of coconut milk, or try pureeing 1.5 cups of the soup with 1 cup of cashews in a blender and adding it back to the rest of the soup.  Or go for the ultimate in non-dairy creamy soups, and do both!

The cashews have the added benefit of spiking the protein content of your soup.  Both add fat and make the soup a heavier dish that can become a solid main course.

Feel free to top with some siracha if you need an extra kick of heat to fend of the autumn and winter chills.

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