Warm Your Bones: Curried Squash & Apple Soup

As much as I would like to continue deluding myself, winter is officially here in Southern Ontario. Temperatures are dropping all across the country as the unstoppable juggernaut that is the holiday season continues to swing into full force. I am a big fan of eating seasonally inspired foods, so I have spent a lot of time lately tinkering around with some hearty dishes that help to fight off winter’s chill from the inside out. Whenever I get into autumn and winter cooking mode, it doesn’t take long for my craving for great soup to kick in. After all, for my money there are few things as satisfying as a big steaming bowl of scratch made soup. Not only are most soups pretty simple to prepare, but they also provide s a great way to take full advantage of the somewhat meager local produce offerings that Ontario provides after the prime growing season winds down in October. I’ve actually been working my way through some of the recipes featured in this list over the past month, and I thought I’d share the results of one such afternoon in the kitchen spent doing exactly that.

This breakdown details my preparation of the Paupered Chef’s curried apple and squash soup. I really do love this soup, not only for its inclusion of produce that I can get locally from my market, but also for its use of plain yogurt as a dairy component. While most soups opt to use a cream of some sorts to thicken the base and provide a creamy texture, this recipe takes full advantage of the tangy profile of the yogurt and the unique way it interacts with the curry and mustard seed. The finished soup features a very interesting and playful combination of both exotic and rustic flavors, and its definitely worth experimenting with. Not only is it very tasty, but it also provides a welcome bit of variety in your soup recipe arsenal.

Curried Squash & Apple Soup. Photography by Lauren Cheong.
Curried Squash & Apple Soup. Photography by Lauren Cheong.

Preparation:

  • Break down two medium sized squash, remove their seeds, and roast in your oven for 1 hour at 450 degrees. Once flesh of the squash is soft, scoop out from the rind and set aside. The recipe I followed calls for two acorn squash, but I opted to throw a buttercup squash into the mix to switch things up a bit (and because I love buttercup squash). Follow your instincts on this one and feel free to experiment with some different gourds if the mood strikes you.
  • In a large soup pot, heat 1/4 cup of cooking oil (something neutral flavored, like canola or vegetable) and 4 tsp of mustard seed over medium heat.
  • After 30 seconds of heating the mustard seed, add 3 tbsp of curry powder to your soup pot and cook for roughly 2 minutes.
  • Add your roasted squash, 2 large apples (peeled, cored & diced of course), 1 chopped onion, 10 peeled garlic cloves, 1.5 tbsp of minced ginger, 4 cups of stock (I always opt for chicken stock when I’m making soup since I make my own on the regular, but feel free to sub in vegetable stock if you are looking or a vegetarian option) and then bring mixture to a  simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Remember, you want to gently simmer your soup – no need for a rolling boil here.
  • Puree soup with a food processor or immersion blender once simmering time is up.
  • Carefully stir in 3/4 cup plain yogurt, and then season with salt and/or pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, and serve with a dollop of additional yogurt for garnish and sliced lime wedges to squeeze over the soup for an added bit of citrus zip that compliments the everything beautifully.

This recipe should produce  between 4 and 6 servings, depending on just how hungry you and yours are. The end result is quite filling for a soup though, so don’t be surprised if there are left overs. Luckily it stores and reheats well, too.

Many thanks to Lauren Cheong for the fantastic feature photo.