Spiced ambercup squash soup with coconut milk

I’m so behind with my blogging. I have the utmost respect for anyone who manages to post once a week. As for those who do it daily – I bow down to you. Life has taken over recently, so here I am posting a very belated autumn recipe with blatant disregard for seasonality. Don’t go looking for ambercups now; you’ll be sorely disappointed….

Anyway, back in November, I was wandering around Brixton farmers’ market and found myself captivated by the crates of amazing squashes. Beautiful things in every shape and size: smooth, knobbly, bulbous, bent, some fat and round; others twisted and otherworldly; a rainbow of orange, yellow, gold and green.

This ambercup squash took my fancy. Like a miniature pumpkin, with a typical round shape, deep orange hue, lovely stripes and a contrasting green tip. I bought a couple and they sat on my kitchen windowsill looking pretty for a week.

Then I made them into this soup. It would have been quick and simple, had my stick blender not exploded in my face. Luckily the soup survived, as did my eyebrows – just! – but a chunky texture wasn’t floating my boat, so the soup was temporarily abandoned and confined to the freezer until Amazon delivered my spanking new Breville appliance.

It was worth the wait. When – days later – I finally puréed the soup and blended in coconut milk, the outcome was silky smooth, mildly spiced and nutty.

  • 800g ambercup squash, peeled, deseeded & chopped into chunks (this was 1½ squashes; I chopped the remaining half, double-wrapped in cling, and froze)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 fresh red bird’s-eye chillies, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • 1 onion, peeled & chopped
  • 250ml coconut milk

Put the squash chunks in a mixing bowl, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the chilli and spices and toss together. Empty into a foil-lined oven tin and roast for 20 minutes at 200°C. After this time, add the garlic and roast for 15–20 minutes more.

Heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion until soft.

When the squash is ready, pull off any bits that are burnt or overdone, then scrape the contents of the roasting tin into the onion pan (off the heat) and purée everything together with a stick blender. (If your blender explodes at this point, down tools and allow yourself a quick sulk while your soup cools, then scrape it into Tupperware and freeze until your replacement arrives.) If your blender is still live and kicking, add about a quarter of the chicken stock and blend again until smooth.

Add the remaining stock and finally the coconut milk. Stir well, put back on the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then season with salt and as much black pepper as you please.

This solved my lunch dilemma for three or four days on the trot, with wholemeal bread, cracked pepper and a slew of fresh coriander.

Source: adapted from this Waitrose recipe.

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