This easy and delicious winter soup has lovely seasonal flavours delicious for Christmas-time. Don’t worry about the long list of ingredients which is mostly aromatic herbs and spices that pay off with big flavour. If you don’t have every spice or if you want to use dried spices go ahead and make it to suit your taste. Strategic use of the microwave to cook the squash and sweet potato makes this soup come together very quickly.
For extra flavour, peel and cut the squash and sweet potatoes into 1” chunks and roast them at 350 ° for about 1 hour. But using the microwave saves a lot of time and effort and the soup still tastes great.
2 lbs. butternut squash or your favourite squash or cooking pumpkin
1 lb. sweet potato
2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped finely, or part of a hot pepper to taste
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp curry powder
1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1⁄4 cup 35% cream (optional)
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (optional)
Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. (Save the seeds to roast separately at 350 ° with your favourite spices such as cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper.) Scrub the potato and stick it several times with a fork, so it doesn’t explode in the microwave.
Microwave the squash and sweet potato until soft. Let cool until able to handle them and then scoop out the flesh of each of the vegetables and set aside together in a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot with the oil over med-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add the sweet red pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook just until fragrant.
Add the thyme, orange zest, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves, mixing everything thoroughly. Add butter, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir together until well mixed.
Add the squash and sweet potato and stir well.
Add the chicken stock, stirring to blend everything together.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Allow the soup to cool a bit and carefully use a stick blender or a blender to puree until smooth.
Add the cream and coconut milk if desired and stir. Reheat gently if necessary.
Garnish with additional cream or coconut cream when serving.
Yield 10 cups.