It’s Not Easy Being Green…

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Let's put this sexy vegetable to work!

Let’s put this sexy vegetable to work!

So I’m still on my cleanse which makes sharing fun and interesting recipes pretty limited unless you love vegetables, fruit, and fish.  It has forced me to be very creative in the kitchen. Remember this post about my pole dancing classes? It’s okay, you don’t have to relive my embarrassment if you don’t want to.  To sum it up: in one of the classes we were told to, “Serve it up like a steak dinner,” pondered what to serve to a vegetarian ‘patron,’ and then basically determined that a butternut squash was a sexier vegetable than a piece of broccoli.  About a month ago, the workplace kitchen had some extra butternut squash and our food service manager decided to put the excess squash out for grabs at a staff meeting.  I took two but admittedly, I had never dealt with a whole butternut squash.  I typically cheat and get the pre-cut variety and roast the pieces in the oven with some oil, lemon, and thyme. I’m trying to do them myself now instead of cheating.  They are a pain to cut and peel, aren’t they?

I decided I would take the two squash and make a tasty curried soup out of them. I found several recipes online and took what I liked best about each and turned it into something of my own.  To make this work on the cleanse (for variety – because I eat this lentil soup almost every day), I increased the onion, increased a couple of the spices, and used water instead of my beloved chicken stock. I also omitted wine.  I also had to substitute the brown sugar for raw honey.  Sigh.  No worries, it’s still tasty this way.  So, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, simply use water or vegetable stock. I imagine the vegetable stock would be tastier than water, but I can’t use prepared stock on this.  At any rate, here is the original recipe, wine and all. Good lord, I miss wine.

Lady Sensory’s Serve It Up Spicy Curried Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium-sized butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeds/pulp removed

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 head of garlic (yes, the whole shebang)

1 rounded tsp of Madras curry (I used the Williams-Sonoma brand, but use whatever curry powder you like best)

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and crushed red pepper

A pinch of ginger and cayenne pepper (cayenne is optional, but it gives it a little more kick)

1 bay leaf

4 cups of chicken stock plus 2 cups water (substitute vegetable stock if needed)

1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth

2 tbsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

Mmmmm. Roasted garlic.

Mmmmm. Roasted garlic.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the squash with olive oil (I used F.Oliver’s Blood Orange flavored oil for the squash and plain olive oil for the rest). Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil in the upright position (orange part up). Take the head of garlic and chop the top off (the pointy side). Place on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil, then close the foil tightly around the garlic.  If you have room on the cookie sheet with the squash place the garlic there. Otherwise make sure you have another piece of foil underneath because it will most likely leak while roasting.  How do I know this?  You should see the bottom of my oven. Whoops. I’ll be inhaling Easy-Off in the near future. Anyway, roast the squash and the garlic in the for at least an hour to an hour and a half. The surface of the squash will look a little golden and blistered by then, like the image above.

In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large pot on the stove.  Add the onions and cook until golden brown. Remove the onions from the pot and place them in a food processor.  Add wine to the pot to deglaze it (removes the brown bits and boosts the flavor) and reduce for a minute. You can then add the stock, water, dried spices, bay leaf, and brown sugar to the pot on the stove to begin heating.  Once the squash and garlic are done, you will be adding them to the food processor as well.  When cool enough to handle, scoop the squash from the shell and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skin and add to the bowl of the food processor. Purée the squash, onion and garlic until nice and smooth and add to the pot.  You will most likely have to do this in a couple batches. Once all the squash has been added, allow the soup to simmer for about 15-20 minutes on medium-low, just to let the flavors marry.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt if you can enjoy the dairy. How about some fancy crème fraîche?  Sigh.  I miss dairy. And crusty rolls. And wine. I realize I mentioned wine already. I should just go back to France and make better friends with the Camembert cheese and the Côtes du Rhône and Bourgogne wines.  If you can’t do dairy, you can just top it off with some fresh parsley. I don’t miss parsley. I’ve enjoyed me some parsley and PLENTY of kale and spinach over the past couple of weeks. I’m surprised I haven’t turned as green as Kermit the Frog.  Coincidentally, I did buy some green nail polish today. Hey, did you know Brussels sprouts grow like this? This makes me want to challenge someone to a duel.

Doesn't this make you want to bust out with "Use the force, Luke?"

Doesn’t this make you want to bust out with “Use the force, Luke?”

I’m rambling. Sorry about that.  This soup should serve 6-8 people…or one hungry person…multiple times.

The finished product - it's delicious!

The finished product – it’s delicious!

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