Thursday, November 11, 2010

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup

I just call it Thai Butternut Squash soup.

This soup is s(o)uper simple to serve up! So... I think I am just cooking my way through the Eating Well Serves Two cookbook. I actually have come to realize I kind of prefer Eating Well to Weight Watchers cookbooks (previously my all time favorite), because Eating Well seems to realize that there are seasons. Not always, but most of the time I can find recipes that work perfectly with what I have on hand.

The recipe calls for frozen winter squash, but I had pounds of fresh butternut squash sitting in a bowl. So I simply cut them in half (with my very good kitchen knives) and roasted them in a olive oil coated pan. If you buy winter squash at the grocery store, they claim that you can ask the produce guy to cut in half for you. My friend Summer once told me she got Publix to cut her squash. So... I feel confident you can pry into your fresh squash with some effort. Of course, you can take the easy route and buy the frozen stuff.

After I roasted it I scooped it out (yes... I kind of burned my fingers) and then pureed the flesh with my immersion blender. I love that thing! It's as old as me and I can distinctly remember calling it the milkshake maker when I was little. Granny made some awesome blueberry milkshakes. Back to the soup... because the flesh was already hot... I didn't really have to heat it or cook it much. I kind of just dumped the seasonings in, let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then served it.

The recipes says you can leave out the chicken and spinach if you want a simple first-course soup. Or maybe you're like me and just don't have any chicken and spinach around. The recipe also doesn't talk about cooking the chicken, but if you are using raw chicken please cut it very thinly and then cook it until it's done. I bet you could throw it some precooked chicken and it would be fine. I had most everything on hand, and luckily I live next to an Indian-owned convenient store... so finding coconut milk is not a hard task. I forgot to buy limes at the store, so I just used lemon juice from my fridge. I ate this with some simple water crackers and found it quite comforting on these cool nights we've been having.

I actually trippled this recipe and put some of the soup in the freezer. If I remember correctly, I stopped getting winter squash in my box last year around December. I love the taste so much that I wanted to be sure to enjoy it a little longer this time around.

How are you using winter squash this season?

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup
(Serves Two)

1 10-ounce package frozen pureed winter squash
1/2 cup "lite" coconut milk
1/2 cup water
8 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat squash, coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash defrosts, about 10 minutes. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in spinach, lime juice, sugar, curry paste to taste and salt and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.

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