I love this combination of flavours…Sweet & creamy butternut squash, the boost of the fresh ginger, the subtle coconut cream with the light aroma of fresh lemongrass, all seasoned up with a touch of revitalising lime juice! Perfect, if I might say! I haven’t tried with other pumpkins, but to me butternut squash is special. I love it’s colour, but it’s its flavour what differs it from other squash family members! I love it roasted, sautéed, puréed, raw…Everyway you can think of!
This is one of those super comforting winter dishes, that really warms you up in a cool day. Though, it can also be served cold in warmer days! Plus it looks great in small shot glasses for a fancy cocktail! It looks good, and tastes even better…be it creamy & warm or more diluted in it’s cold version (as the lime and coriander freshen it up a lot!). So, it’s versatility makes it suit many different occasions!
This dish also reminds me that Linguini used to get sick at winter time…until he met me!:) and I introduced him to ginger (or so he says!). I cook with ginger quite a lot, so he associates his boosted immune system to this change in his diet! I’ve never really paid much attention to ingredients medicinal properties (that will change as I get older, I am sure), but if you search for ginger…it seems to be good for almost everything!! So…if you are not convinced yet: taste this creamy soup for its incredible flavour and texture and because it is good for you!
Butternut squash, ginger & coconut creamy soup
(enough for about 5 people)
1 small butternut squash (mine was about 800g whole, about 600g for the soup)
1 large onion
1 piece of fresh ginger, about 15g (or to taste)
1 potato (optional, looses colour but makes it a bit creamier)
2 small fresh lemongrass stalks
15g neutral oil+20g butter, or all oil to fry the onion
1 can of coconut milk (400g)
water or clear vegetable stock, to reach desired texture
pinch of salt
some freshly ground pepper
fresh lime juice, to taste (I used half a lime)
fresh coriander leaves, to serve
This soup is super easy to put together, I just took extra time, because I separated a bit of the butternut squash to sautée it at the end to serve on top and contrast with the mellowed down hue of the soup. Also, because to use up the seeds I washed them up, dried, and slow-roasted in the oven. But if you are not going to bother with either of those two “accesories” it is very simple to make!
So, let’s begin…chop up the onion and ginger (finely, better) and place with the fats (butter &/or a mild-flavoured oil) and some salt over low heat to slowly fry them. They shouldn’t brown, just get really soft. You can add the bruised lemongrass stalks here, or leave them to infuse with the cream at the end for a fresher taste.
Meanwhile peel the butternut squash, cutting off the skin. If you are going to sauté some to serve, reserve it now. I ended up adding only about 600g to the soup, after peeling and leaving some for later.
Add the chopped butternut squash and slow fry a bit until it releases it’s flavour and begins to soften, then add the chopped potato.
Cover with the coconut milk and a little water if needed to cover it completely (and one of the lemongrass stalks if you prefer that fresher taste), season a bit and cook until both the potato and butternut squash are butter soft! Then, remove the lemongrass stalks and blend until smooth and add water until it gets the consistency you desire. I like it quite creamy, but add more water to reach how you like it!
Now season it to taste and add the splash of lime juice which is what gives it character (you’ll see how drastically the flavour changes). Even if you don’t like the sourness of the lime, add a tiny bit, as it equilibrates this dish, believe me.
That’s it! Just a note to make if you plan on freezing this. It’s ok to freeze it, but don’t freak out if it looks split after defrosting, as the coconut cream separates…Just give it a whiz with a blender, adding a bit extra water if needed, and you are back to the beginning!
For the seeds, wash them up to remove the bits and pieces of flesh, dry them or leave them to dry in a colander and season with some oil, salt and pepper (even some dried ginger or lime rind, if you like. This time I just did plain salt & pepper for crunchiness and seasoned the sautéed butternut squash) and roast in a aproximately 110ºC preheated oven for about an hour until you feel they are crunchy and lightly toasted. Sorry, no photo as my oven is STILL not working and did this over my sister-in-law’s!
For the sautéed, as simple as cut the butternut squash in small squares and stir-fry with little oil over medium heat until it gets a bit soft. Season to taste with some salt and freshly ground pepper. I also added a drizzle of lime juice and a bit of finely grated rind, but that’s up to you.
When ready to serve, warm everything up, serve with the seeds and sautéed & seasoned squares over and drizzle a bit of oil and….Enjoy!!