I have a bit of an obsession with winter-squash soup.
By “bit of an obsession,” I mean that for years, I have been chasing the perfect winter-squash soup recipe like a kitchen version of the great white tiger. The hunt began several years ago, when I tasted the perfect butternut squash soup at Bistro 1245 in Gainesville, Fla. It was creamy and smooth and just a little bit sweet, and it was both easy on the stomach and hearty—two essential components of a post-run meal (carb replacement came in the form of crusty bread served on the side).
So I started collecting and sampling recipes to find the perfect one. I never stopped. One of the recipes shown below, from a restaurant called Lucca’s in Chicago, involves not only the usual suspects (garlic or onion, squash or pumpkin, spices), but a chopped ripe banana.
Like I said: It’s an obsession.
Part of me wishes I was posting that perfect recipe here, now. But the other part of me knows that any work of art (which even a bad pumpkin soup usually is) is never truly finished, but simply stops at an interesting point. Here’s my favorite version of winter-squash soup, as it stands right now.
Almost-perfect pumpkin soup
First, roast your squash of choice. I’ve been obsessed with peanut pumpkins lately, so I used one of those for this week’s batch of soup. They’re super-duper sweet, thanks to those barnacle-looking things, which I’m told are actually nodes of sugar.
Roast a few cloves of garlic in a saucepan. Combine the following in the saucepan, once the garlic is nice and brown:
Puree of one large squash
1 can lite coconut milk
1 can vegetable stock (or, to taste—I like a thick soup, so I sometimes like less stock)
1 TBSP red curry powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP sweetener (I like honey or Stevia)
Heat, but not to the point of boiling. Eat. If desired, pour into several Tupperware containers to freeze, or to or eat later in the afternoon—ahem, to eat later in the week.
I’ve never tried a variation that didn’t work: Adding some roasted apples or pears, subbing cider for the vegetable stock, adding yogurt at the end to make it extra-creamy. So I’m curious: Do you have a pumpkin soup recipe? What goes into it? Which ingredients are essential, and which are just crazy-talk (besides the banana, of course)?