Amazing Soup


A couple of weeks ago several
student members of Slow Food Bloomington got together to work on chartering an
IU chapter of Slow Food on
. As the faculty sponsor, I got to tag along, which was a good thing
because they met over a terrific potluck supper at one
of the student’s
apartments.  Among the treats on offer (with almost
everything made from local ingredients) were samosas, hummus, red beans and
rice, roast beef, and one of the best soups I’ve had in memory!  I was so
hooked on Sarah Almuhairi’s Curried Butternut Squash Soup that I begged for the
recipe and permission to share. Both were granted.  I made the soup for
dinner last night, and am finishing it off, cold, with a splash of cider
vinegar, for breakfast this morning, even as I type this.  It’s a complex
and mysterious combination of sweet, tart and spice, and it’s just

A couple of thoughts about this
soup.  First, it calls for grains of paradise,
a peppery/cardamommy spice that I had never used before (and in fact had only
heard of in the last month or so.)  I liked it so well I left the grains
in the pepper mill with my regular peppercorns for a nice twist of spice. It’s
worth getting if you don’t have any.  Second, Sarah suggests heat-lovers
add some chipotles in adobo to the soup.  I am and I did and it was great,
but I think it might have overwhelmed the intricate and delicious play of apple
and squash with the curry flavors.  Another time, I’ll ratchet it back.
And finally, it was the perfect soup to make with the contents of this week’s CSA box, full of
butternut squash and apples.  And there is enough left over that I can
make this soup again for Thanksgiving. My taste buds will be singing all week

Enough of me — here’s Sarah’s

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium butternut squash (3-4
lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch cubes

3-4 tart baking apples, such as
winesap, Granny Smith, or Jonathan, peeled, cored, and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 large onion, peeled, halved,
and finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon garam masala

½ teaspoon ground grains of

about 4 cups rich chicken or
vegetable stock

To taste:

Apple cider vinegar (1 tsp – 1

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Lemon juice (optional – depends
on how tart your apples are)

Heat oil and butter in a large
soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and a pinch of salt
and cook until soft, translucent and starting to take on color (about 10
minutes). Add garlic and chopped herbs and sauté for 2 minutes. Add apples,
squash, garam masala, and grains of paradise, and stir to combine. Cover with
stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a rapid simmer. Cook for 30-45
minutes, or until squash and apples are meltingly soft.

Remove soup from heat. Using an
immersion blender, blend soup to a smooth puree. Alternatively, you could
transfer soup to a food processor or blender in batches. Before serving, add
cider vinegar and, if using, lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings to your
liking (depending on what stock you use, you might need to add up to a teaspoon
of salt).

Sarah’s Notes:

One of my favorite garnishes for this soup is a
dollop of strained Greek-style yoghurt mixed with shredded cucumber, topped
with copious amounts of fresh ground pepper. However, sour cream and chopped
parsley would also be good, as would any kind of homemade crouton or crostini.

There are as many garam masala recipes as there are
North Indian cooks. The garam masala I use is the prepackaged, preground blend
from Sahara Mart and is a little bit
spicy. I am a spice fiend, and if I’m just making this for myself and the
boyfriend will also add ½ tsp of either canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
or dried ground chipotle chili powder. It gives a really nice smoky bite to the
soup (if you like your soup to bite back!)



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Lydia says:

    I am making my own version of curried squash soup today — but now I have to get some grains of paradise and try your version. I keep reading about this spice and just have not tried it. There’s always room in the pantry for one more thing!


  2. Sara W. says:

    Hooray for Sarah’s delicious soup! Thanks for the blog linkage!


  3. Sarah A. says:

    Shucks, you’re making me blush. Thanks for the kind words.


  4. Erin says:

    This looks delicious. I love all of those flavors, so this recipe is one I must try.


  5. Christie says:

    Wow, that soup sounds delicious. And I am also excited for the Slow Food on Campus. I wish there had been one when I was in college (of course almost no one had heard of Slow Food when I was in college…). I look forward to more posts about this group, and maybe some interschmoozing with the two Bloomington Chapters!


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