Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure Squash Soup

The only reason I'm excited about the chillier weather is that it means it's time for soup.  Not that summer ever really prevents me from doing things as insane as making brownies and stew on 90 degree days.  But there is just something about coming in out of the cold and the rain to make a big pot of simple, filling and warm soup that really can make your day.

My fella and I have been amused by all the signs around town claiming winter is here.  "Weatherize your home.  Winter's coming!"  "Time to winterize your vehicle."  As Wisconsinites accustomed to winters of over 100 inches of snow, the idea that 60 degrees with no wind or weather can be considered "winter" has been amusing us to no end.  The west coast must spoil everyone and make them all soft and easily chilled.  People are running around in parkas and scarves, while the fella and I are still running around in sandals and bare legs.

Apparently all the hype finally went to the fella's precious bald head because the other morning he woke me up extremely excited.  "It's cold.  I got to turn on the heater."  There are two reasons this is funny.  A.  It was about 55 degrees which to me, as my mother's child is "put on a freaking sweater you sissy tempterature." B. Our apartment doesn't have heat per say so much as mini warm air blowers mounted in each room.  So Mr. Lets-move-somewhere-warm was bouncing up and down about getting to flip the switch on a glorified space heater.  He's so cute sometimes.

So to do my part to get into the supposed winter spirit I decided to make soup.  Problem is I'm still feeling extremely basic.  So basic I couldn't even handle reading a recipe so this is what came out of playing squash and the various Indian spices in the cupboard.  It took 15 minutes to make, no effort and was super tasty.  So exactly what I wanted.  With a little vegan yogurt to make it creamy it was just that much better.

You can choose your own squash and Indian spice and go crazy, that's the joy of this recipe.  I had acorn squash in the fridge so that made my squash decision easy.  Somehow we have two full containers of Penzey's Tandori seasoning so I figured I better put that to use.  And I was happy with my decision.  If you're feeling basic butternut squash and curry powder is a traditional match up well known for the happy soup eating noises it creates.  Basically any squash you have hanging around will pair well with a good quality Indian spice blend.  Experiment and let me know what you come up with.

Squash Soup

1 tablespoon vegan butter spread
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon Indian spice mix of your choice (curry powder, Tandori seasoning, masala)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

2 cups cooked squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin)
4 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste

vegan yogurt and cilantro, to top

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter spread and oil until warm.  Add garlic and onion to the pot and cook until browned.  Sprinkle in the spice mix and red pepper flakes, stirring until thoroughly integrated into the onion mixture (this will prevent the spices from clumping when the liquid is added.)

Add the squash of your choice and the vegetable stock to the pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes.  Add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to your taste.

Using an immersion blender or carefully pureeing in the regular blender, mix soup until smooth and creamy.  Serve with a dollop of vegan yogurt and some cilantro leaves.

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