Thursday, February 25, 2010

MY Curried Butternut Soup Versus Ina’s Curried Butternut Soup

I wish I were here…

But HERE I am instead. (Press PLAY)

It's definitely soup weather.

I decided to make one of my favorite soup recipes – Curried Butternut Soup. Ina made her version a few weeks ago. I find it so interesting that the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and mine use exactly the same ingredients (although in different quantities), but our two methods couldn’t be any more different.

The difference starts at the beginning. Ina uses ½ teaspoon of curry powder and I use TWO TABLESPOONS worth. Ina uses 4 cups of stock, (her recipe actually says 2 to 4 cups. 2 is not nearly enough) I use SIX cups. As a result of that, mine is a normal soup texture, Ina’s is super thick (way TOO thick, I think).

Ina roasts her peeled and cubed butternut, in the oven with the onions and apples. I halve my butternut and cook it in water in the oven. Thus, I avoid peeling the pesky butternut and cutting up the super-hard squash.

Ina puts the roasted vegetables through a food mill or in the food processor, stirs in the stock and calls it a day. I cook the onions and apples with the stock for half an hour (cooking the curry powder separately first), THEN blend it with the cooked butternut. 

But I love Ina’s idea of ROASTING the butternut. It’s brilliant, if you don’t mind the extra prep work of peeling and cutting.  

So I made my soup, except that this time I roasted the vegetables. The funny thing is that it wasn’t the butternut or onions that tasted much different. It was the apples! ROASTING them really intensified their tart flavor. They were what I could really taste in the soup. 

I’m not sure if I’d do that again, though. Peeling the butternut is such a pain and this is such an extraordinarily good soup WITHOUT roasting it that I might keep it simple. 

That’s part of the fun of cooking – playing around with ingredients, using them or cooking them in a slightly different way. Now that I think about it, that’s one of the draws of Chopped. It’s fascinating to see what 3 different chefs will do with the same ingredients.

So here’s my recipe, including the directions for baking the butternut. Feel free to try out different cooking methods and let me know what works for you.

Curried Butternut Soup
Click here for printable recipe.
3 lbs. butternut squash
tbls. olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 onions, sliced
2 tbls. curry powder
6 cups stock
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
To finish, if desired, 1½ cups nonfat plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice squash in half lengthwise. Place in shallow baking dish. Add water just to cover bottom of dish. Bake for one hour until squash is tender. Remove and discard seeds and scoop out flesh. You should have about 4 cups.

Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add apples and onions over medium heat. Stir until pan is sizzling, then cover and turn down heat to low. Cook until onions are completely soft, at least 15 minutes. 

Stir in curry powder and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Purée with butternut squash in blender or food processor. (The blender does a better job at getting the mixture smooth.) Return to saucepan. Heat and serve. 

Pass the yogurt separately or garnish each serving with a big spoonful.


Phyllis said...

Hi Sue,
Hope you're surviving the blizzard :) Your soup looks delicious, love the soup crocks with the handles. I make a version of this soup too and I prefer to roast the butternut squash but I cheat a little by buying the pre-cut squash (terrible I know, but I've tried to cut up a whole squash before and almost sliced my hand open). Thanks for the tip about halving it and cooking it in the water - I'll have to try that. I also add a bit of a Thai twist by using a can of coconut milk and Thai red curry paste instead of regular curry powder. Sometimes I throw in some ground cashews for extra flavor. Ok, time to shovel!

Sue said...

Hi Phyllis,
I LOVE the idea of coconut milk and curry paste. I also liked it when Ina garnished the soup with curry type stuff. A spoonful of mango chutney would be great added to each serving.

The roads aren't as bad as they promised, but ALL the snow landed on our driveway. Arrrggghhh!

Emily said...

I can't believe she only uses 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder. I wouldn't consider that a curried soup with that amount.

I would much prefer yours. I LOVE apple with butternut squash.


Sue said...

Mine is good, but Ina's is too, just way too thick and yes, I agree, I think it needs tons more curry.

WOWEE ZOWEE!!!!On television again?!! ;-) Of course YOU ARE!!!