Fragrant, sweet and spicy, this butternut squash soup is spiked with Thai flavours. Garnish it with the leaves and flowers of Thai purple basil, if you like. Pumpkin may be used in place of the squash; both will give the immune system a powerful beta-carotene boost.
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup sliced shallots
1 Tbs. minced or grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
9 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 3 lb.)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 tsp. Thai red curry paste
3/4 cup light coconut milk
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute more. Add the squash, broth and the 1/2 tsp. salt, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Put the curry paste in a small bowl and stir in the coconut milk until well blended. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the coconut milk mixture. Heat the soup until just hot, then stir in the lime juice and adjust the seasoning with salt. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).