I had the uncommon pleasure of a lunchtime visit this week from an out-of-town childhood friend whom I don't get to see very often.
Since I knew that we were heading out for dinner later in the evening, and since we've never been ones to deprive ourselves on such occasions, I decided to keep lunch on the lighter side opting for a warming, full-flavoured seasonal soup. (We also enjoyed a simple salad which, at my guest's request, I will be featuring on the blog sometime in the not-so-distant future).
I made this soup the day before our visit, and while the squash was roasting in the oven, I busied myself with other kitchen chores. I like to set it up that way so that I don't feel like I'm waiting on the oven. I especially like to roast vegetables in the morning while I'm in the kitchen preparing breakfasts and lunches for the boys before they head off to school.
You can easily double the quantity of this soup and freeze some for later use. You can also, as always, modify the ingredients as you see fit.
Roasted Butternut Squash & Coconut Curry Soup with Cinnamon Toasted Seeds
If after puréeing, you find the soup too thick, you can simply add additional stock or coconut milk to achieve desired consistency.
You can substitute 1 tsp of brown sugar for the banana if preferred, although the banana flavour is quite mild amidst the other flavours and lends a wonderful natural sweetness to the soup.
Heat oven to 375 F.
Remove seed section from the interior of the squash pieces and separate seeds from stringy pulp attached to them (rinsing pulp off seeds if necessary).
Discard stringy pulp and spread seeds out on a paper towel to dry somewhat.
Place squash pieces on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle squash pieces with a touch of cinnamon and place in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until squash pieces are tender and have begun to acquire a nice roasted colour (brown around the edges).
Remove squash from the oven and allow it to cool before scraping flesh away from the skin and setting aside (you can use a spoon, knife and/or your hands to assist with this). Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic with some olive oil in a large pot on the stove set to low-medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add curry powder and cumin to the pot, mixing to combine with the onion and garlic. Add fresh ginger and mashed banana stirring to combine. Add roasted squash flesh followed by vegetable (or chicken) stock and coconut milk and mix to combine. Working in batches, place all ingredients in a blender and purée. Return puréed soup to the pot, warming to desired temperature when ready to serve. Meanwhile, place squash seeds in a small dry skillet set to low heat on the stove (the seeds should still have some moisture/wetness to them to allow the cinnamon to adhere to them - if they don't, you can simply splash a little water on them). Sprinkle the seeds with cinnamon and allow them to toast in the skillet for a couple of minutes until they develop a nice rich colour. When ready, serve soup in bowls topped with cinnamon toasted seeds and a swirl of Greek yogurt, as desired.