Yield: 8 (1-cup) servings
1 large butternut squash (1-1/2 to 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped fresh fennel (bulb, stems and fronds)
1/4 cup whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
7 cups vegetable stock (see note)
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (see note)
Basil oil, for serving
Fresh pea shoots, for serving
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a roasting pan with foil. Toss squash pieces with honey, 4 teaspoons oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on the roasting pan in a single layer, roast for 20 to 30 minutes until golden, turning every 5 minutes near the end.
2. In a very large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil on medium-high until shimmering. Add curry, cardamom and coriander; stir until warm and fragrant. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and garlic; let cook just until soft. Stir in coconut milk and cook, stirring often, until coconut milk begins to thicken.
3. Scrape roasted squash, including the pan’s juices, into the pot. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a simmer, let cook until soup has reduced by 1 inch.
4. In batches, transfer to a blender to purée until smooth. (When blending hot liquids, for safety, work in batches, filling the blender no more than half full. Use one hand to hold the cover and the other to turn the blender on low to start.)
5. Return to the pot. Stir in sambal oelek. Season with salt and pepper.
6. The soup is best made a day ahead. To serve Big Sky-style, ladle soup into a shallow bowl, apply a swirl of basil oil and top with fresh pea shoots.
Per serving: 300 calories; 19g fat; 11g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 4g protein; 33g carbohydrate; 17g sugar; 6g fiber; 152 sodium; 107mg calcium.
Notes: For vegetable stock, Big Sky recommends homemade stock, not high-salt commercial stock. This recipe was tested with stock made with 10 cups water, 3 onions, 3 carrots, 2 ribs celery and the seeds and “gunk” from inside the squash (plus the leftover bits of onion, celery and fennel) and 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds and 1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper.
Sambal oelek is a hot chili paste from Indonesia and other parts of Asia. Look for jars in the Asian section in well-stocked supermarkets and at Global Foods Market in Kirkwood.
Recipe adapted for home kitchens by the Post-Dispatch.