Kelis’ Butternut Squash Soup
I love this soup. It’s funny – for the Food Network cooking show, we’d bought tonnes of butternut squash to decorate the set and I thought, “What feels like winter?”. Winter vegetables and, of course, lots of pumpkins. Between the prop person and my mum being obsessed with white pumpkin – my mum was there too – we went to the store and cleaned them out; we got every pumpkin and squash they had. We put them all over the house and put bows on them. When the show was over, I had all this squash, and of course I had to cook it. After a couple weeks of squash this and squash that, my husband and my son were like, “Please, no more!”. But there was more. I hate wasting food. We’re a member of a vegetable collective that delivers locally grown produce once a week. During the autumn and winter months, every single week, there’s another butternut squash in our package. This butternut squash soup was one of the last squash things I made before the season for them was over, and it was such a victory. Even though they were sick of squash, my husband and son both ate it: it was that good. I add cream to the soup, but it’s also delicious without it.
Makes about 3.8 litres; serves 8
2 butternut squash (about 1.8kg), peeled, seeds removed and cut into 4cm cubes
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
5 sprigs of fresh sage
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp sea salt, plus more to taste
75g demerara sugar
2 tsp curry powder (preferably hot curry powder)
300ml whipping cream (optional)
flaked almonds, lightly toasted, for garnish
currants or black raisins for garnish
- Combine squash, onion, sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 2.5-5cm and bring water to the boil over a high heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until squash is mushy.
- Turn off heat and use a stick blender to purée the soup.
- Add sugar and curry powder and stir until sugar dissolves.
- Stir in cream, if using. Season with more salt to taste. Serve warm, garnished with almonds and dried fruit.
Extracted from My Life on a Plate: Recipes from Around the World by Kelis (Kyle Books, approx €27.50, out now). Photograph by David Loftus.