Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thai One On

There is a conundrum in my house.  My wife does not like squash unless it's covered with butter and brown sugar.  I like squash, so you see the conflict!  When presented with this dilemma, I try to use the disputed ingredient in a dish that  lessens the direct flavor to ease her into it.  I did this with kale, lentils, and a few others.  With squash, I came across a recipe in the newspaper using Thai curry as the flavoring and the squash as more of a vehicle.
Intrigued, I tried convincing her this would taste nothing like squash.  Perhaps I embezzled the truth a bit here, but I was pretty sure it would be delicious and she would look past her stubborn nature.

The recipe for this soup seemed a little off balance, so I adapted it to what I believed would be balanced flavors (I was right).  And I even served it for Christmas dinner.  Yes, traditional Christmas dinner kind of goes out the window when I'm in charge, I like to make interesting food.  And good news, she loved it!  So much that I got the green light to make it anytime I wanted.  So if you're looking for a way to get your kid/spouse/friend to eat squash (a very healthy and inexpensive vegetable), give this soup a try.

Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered fresh ginger
1 1/2  tablespoons Thai red curry paste (you can find this at the Asian grocery in a tin or a tube)
2 pounds butternut, acorn, or similar squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cups water
1 can (13½ ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sliced ginger and cook stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the squash and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until soft, 25 minutes. Add the coconut milk and lime zest, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes longer.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender; put it in a clean pot. Or use an immersion stick blender. Stir in the sugar and lime juice and season with salt.

Reheat the soup (you can make it up to three days in advance); ladle it into bowls. Garnish with green onions and serve.