17 September 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Fall Harvest Soup with Curry & Ginger

The farmer's market in Milton hangs on until the middle of October, regardless of wind, rain, sleet or hail. It's sort of like the Post Office, except much tastier.

Since I'm trying to be "that gal" -- the one who's a wannabe/almost/pending locavore -- I'm making it a point to visit the market every Saturday to purchase all our produce for the week (even though our regular shopping day is Sunday and Daryn is slightly less than thrilled to be shopping TWO days a week now instead of one, though the fab lemon danish at his favourite bakery vendor usually smooths the waters.) This past weekend the beautiful fall harvest veg was speaking to me: carrots, potatoes, squash, parsnips, apples and plums, all so gorgeous I could hardly decide what to take home with us.

Anyway, I did decide eventually (after MUCH taste-testing) and then sat around the kitchen staring at my bounty, waiting for inspiration to strike. I flipped through about a hundred recipes on the web, and hemmed and hawed over the best -- and tastiest -- way to cook my loot.

Finally I made a little list of all the flavours that make my mouth water, and just let the ingredients (from the market, and stuff already in my fridge) guide me. This rich and creamy fabulousness is the result.

Preparation: 45 + 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 45 + 30 minutes | Serves: 8 (serving size = 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 2 celery stalks (approximately 1 cup, finely diced)
  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 4 medium carrots (approximately 2 cups, finely diced)
  • 6-8 small Ginger Gold (or other firm, tart) apples (approximately 4 cups, diced)
  • 1 (heaping) tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth (Hey vegetarians/vegans: join the fun! Substitute vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • cooking spray

Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a shallow baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut-side down (skin up) on the baking tray; bake 10 minutes. Turn squash halves skin-side down and bake another 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is very, very tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. While squash is baking, peel carrots and peel and core apples. Chop apples and onion into medium dice. Chop carrots and celery into fine dice.
  4. Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; sauté until translucent (approximately 8-10 minutes).
  5. Add curry powder, bay leaf, salt, pepper and minced ginger; cook 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add carrots and apples; stir well to coat with spices.
  6. Add chicken broth to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover tightly. Simmer 20-30 minutes until apples begin to dissolve and carrots are very, very tender (you're going to be blending this mixture into a purée so it needs to be soft-soft-soft.)
  7. Meanwhile, scoop squash from their skins into a separate bowl. Aim for approximately 4 cups.
  8. Remove soup mixture from heat. Remove and discard bay leaf.
  9. Get out your blender! Carefully (because the soup mixture is wicked-hot), ladle 1-2 scoops of soup mixture + 1 cup of squash to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Transfer to a separate pot or large bowl.
  10. Continue blending until all soup mixture and squash has been puréed and is completely smooth.
  11. Add coconut milk and stir thoroughly to combine.
  12. Serve with slices of toasted, buttered naan and side salad of salted cucumber slices splashed in white wine vinegar and mint.

OMG you guys, this soup is so YUM. YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM.

It's thick and rich, warm and spicy, nutty and buttery, smooth, super-delish and crazy-good for you. Like, CRAZY good. It's also grain, gluten and dairy free, and can be easily adapted to a vegetarian/vegan diet by substituting veggie broth for the chicken. And then Bob's-Your-Uncle! It's possibly the perfect soup :)

I'm pretty excited that my first foray into recipe-making turned out so well; I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Have you ever invented a recipe from scratch? What was it? Share in the comments, I'd love to hear about it!

Notes: freezer-friendly | vegetarian (optional)