Creamy, comforting, earthy, warming, silky and gorgeous. Butternut squash — and many other winter squashes — cozy right up to traditional Indian flavours. And this soup is one of those dishes that will make anyone entering your house say, “What in the world smells so amazing?” It’s the combination of all the warm spices, the hit of fresh ginger, and the sweetness of this easy-to-find, inexpensive winter squash.
If you use vegetable broth, the soup is vegetarian. And if there is a dairy intolerance in your household, swap the butter out for olive oil and skip the cream. You’ll have a lighter, lactose-free, vegan soup. If you like fresh cilantro, think about sprinkling some of the chopped herb on top just before serving.
This is a lovely opener to a fall dinner, but with a big chopped salad it can very well be the main event. It also is a great do ahead soup. It can be prepped up to four days in advance. If you plan to make it ahead, stop before the cream is added and refrigerate the soup. Just before serving, reheat the soup and add the cream. If you reheat it with the cream already added in, make sure you only bring it to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat so it doesn’t curdle.
INDIAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH-CARROT SOUP
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large (about 2 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (4 to 5 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots and squash, then saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric and cloves, then simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor (alternately, you can run the mixture through a food mill, which offers a great kind of nubby texture, or puree with an immersion blender). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the cream and heat just until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at www.themom100.com.