Runner-friendly recipe: Pumpkin (or winter-squash) soup

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)?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Runner-friendly recipe: Pumpkin (or winter-squash) soup

  1. Ooh! I’m on a quest for a good butternut squash recipe. Think this’ll work?

  2. Absolutely! I made a batch with butternut squash last week (if you look closely at the photo of the soup ready to freeze, the front one says “BNUT” on the lid). Turned out spectacularly well!

    • YUM!!!

      I made butternut squash soup this afternoon using your recipe as the foundation. Sauteed shallots in olive oil, then added puree of 2 smaller b’nut squash (roasted 40 min at 400˚F), 1 can lite coconut milk, 1 cup broth, and roughly 1/8 tsp each of freshly ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg.

  3. Oh yum!! I’ve been an a soup kick lately too. Will have to try this! This may be a dumb question, but do you blend the whole squash? Or do you peel it?

    • I wouldn’t puree it with the skin, but you don’t even have to peel it! Once you roast the squash, you can actually just scoop out the flesh—it should separate from the skin pretty easily once it’s all roasty and soft.

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