In the spirit of continued seasonal eating, I present to you the delicious and creamy Coconut Squash Soup. This recipe (even though I tweaked it) is courtesy of Amanda Lunn, a friend who also supports organic, natural, and delicious eating. This soup, which I am eating now, is rich, thick, and creamy, and made only of delicious, healthy things. One aspect that surprized me is how creamy it is. As you will see, you have the option of making it with broth, cow milk, or nut milk. I made it with 3.25 C of chicken broth and 3/4 C non-fat half and half, and it’s still so creamy I wonder if I should have used all chicken broth. The squash, after being roasted and simmered and blended, makes for a natural, non-fat smooth and rich texture that is delicious. On top of tasting good, it is a beautiful golden orange color, with little bits of dark orange carrot to add to the visual appeal.
Coconut is something that I don’t often cook with, much less coconut milk. I always associate it with desserts, or exotic things. But I was very surprized at how deliciously it combined with what otherwise would be a very non-tropical dish without overpowering the rest of the flavors. Coconut is high in iron (very important for any vegetarians out there), as well as lauric acid. I had not heard of lauric acid before researching this post. It functions as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, as well as supports the immune system. Fresh coconut is one of the highest natural sources of electrolytes known. So if you are dehydrated, reach for a coconut. Coconut oil is a very health choice for cooking oil, and is made from the fatty oils of the coconut. Coconut milk, like used in this recipe, is not the liquid found inside of the nut when it is broken open (that is coconut water). Instead, it is made from pressing the coconut meat and water together until the liquid inside is extruded into this delicious liquid. It is true that coconut milk is high in fat compared to other similar, creamy, products (like non fat plain yogurt). However, only the coconut milk has the flavor that is so desirable. And when used in relatively small amounts per serving, as in this recipe, it will not hurt your diet. And you will be amazed at how thick and creamy it is, and what a difference it makes to the soup.
For those of you who are thinking “she only writes about foods like squash and sweet potatoes, and root veggies. Have you noticed that they’re mostly orange too? Does she eat anything else?” I promise, in the next few months you will see an amazing diversity of foods and fresh greens and the like. But I am trying to eat more in tune with the seasons. When you do that, the food is cheaper, and you are reducing your carbon footprint (because you’re not naving to haul in strawberries from half a continent away). Squash and all root veggies, as well as apples, are all foods that come ripe late in the season, and that store very well. Now, in the sad, dark, depths of winter (can you tell my opinion of the season?) these foods are one of the best options for you to eat. I promise that once my newly expanded garden starts producing more food than I can handle you will be getting all kinds of recipes with the best of the summer bounty.
Coconut Squash Soup
- 1 acorn squash, quartered and seeded
- 1 butternut squash, quartered and seeded
- 3 large carrots (I used 5 med/small)
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp turmeric
- Dash or two cayenne pepper
- 3/4 tsp chopped FRESH (not dry ground) ginger (I have a little jar of it from the grocery store from right next to the pre-chopped garlic)
- 4 C stock (chicken or veggie), or cow milk, or nut milk (I recommend the stock).
- 1 can coconut milk (you can find it in the asian section of your supermarket)
- 2-4 Tbsp maple syrup (I used no sugar, low cal, imitation syrup. It’s only 1 pt per 1/4 cup, so effectively with this little amount it doesn’t add any points)
- 1-2 tsp (to your taste) salt
- Couple of grinds of pepper
- Roast your squash in the oven. Preheat oven to 400 deg. Seed the squash by cutting it in half through the stem. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Then cut again to make it into quarters. Set the pieces on a cookie sheet or a casserole dish. Roast them, turning occasionally, until nice and brown and give easily if you squeeze them with tongs. It took about 45 min for me.
- Take out the squash and let sit until cool enough to handle. Once they are, scoop the meat out and compost the skins.
- But the butter in a large soup pot and let it melt. Peel and chop the carrots. Toss in the carrots and squash and saute until carrots are slightly soft. Add in the turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, a bit of salt, and a dash (just one, you can add more later) of cayenne powder.
- Once the veggies are sautéed, add in the liquid, but NOT the coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for an hour.
- After it has simmered, add in the coconut milk, a little more salt, and some maple syrup (start with one or two Tbsp). Blend until smooth. I highly recommend an immersion blender. I LOVE mine. It is like a blender on a stick, much easier than the mess and bother of using a normal blender. But if you do not have an immersion blender, the normal one works fine too.
- Now take a taste. You can stir in more maple syrup if you want, I found 2 Tbsp to be great, I don’t like it super sweet. This is where your sweetness comes from, by the way. The coconut milk is not sweet on its own.
- Gage on whether you need more depth of flavor. I found mine a little flat, and a little too sweet. To combat it, I added in more salt, another dash of cayenne and a couple of grinds of pepper, and it balanced perfectly.