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Curried Summer Squash Soup

July 12, 2011

Sometimes I buy vegetables with a difficult dish in mind only to find that I just don’t have it in me to cook something complex. This happens frequently in the summer, when slaving over the stove doesn’t seem particularly appealing. Soup is always an easy out in this situation; nearly any vegetable can be made into a soup.

This is how it came to be that I found myself making soup out of two lovely yellow summer squash from Stillman’s Farm at the Cambridgeport farmers’ market. The resulting soup was delicate, complex, and delicious served hot, but it was even better the next day served cold. That might have had something to do with the 90-degree heat, though.

I was able to pull this soup together with nothing but the summer squash and ingredients I already had on hand. This may not be the case if you don’t have the spices for this particular curry powder, however, but I do think they’re all worth having on hand.

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, minced
  • 2 yellow summer squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4-5 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder*
  • 3 cups whey (if you’ve got it, otherwise substitute vegetable stock or water)
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (cream or buttermilk would also work nicely, if you want a richer soup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tbsp of pepitas

*You might be tempted to substitute normal curry powder for the Sri Lankan curry powder. Don’t! Sri Lankan curry powder is different, and you can easily make your own. It’s well-worth the effort, and you’ll have enough to put in a spice jar and keep on hand for use later. There are lots of recipes online, but I use the one in Heidi Swanson’s Supernatural Cooking. It involves 1) toasting in a pan 1 tbsp each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and cloves plus a 1 inch piece of cinnamon and 3-4 dried red chili peppers, 2) grinding this all with a mortar and pestle or in a spice or coffee bean grinder, and then 3) stirring in 1 tbsp ground turmeric. Easy! You can find more detailed instructions here.

Once you have your Sri Lankan curry powder, here’s what you do:

  • Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a stock pot and sautee the onions, garlic, and bay leaf until for 3-4 minutes
  • Add the squash, all but 1 tbsp of the curry powder, and mint and roast for 5 minutes until squash begins to soften, stirring often
  • Add the liquid, bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cover, and cook for 15 minutes
  • Turn off burner and immersion blend until creamy
  • Stir in yogurt
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Mix remaining 1 tbsp olive oil with remaining 1 tsp Sri Lankan curry powder and toss pepitas in it. Fry in pan or bake until tan. Garnish soup with the pepitas and serve.

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