For far too many years, I hated winter squash and wouldn’t eat it. Pureed squash was watery, bland, and mushy, with a weird grainy texture. Squash soup was the same, except it came in a bowl and you had to eat more of it.
Once I discovered that roasting cubed winter squash in a hot oven with olive oil and herbs and adding savory apple and curry flavors to squash soup transforms this once-hated veggie into a must-have fall favorite, there was no going back to that slooshy scoop of tepid squash puree slowly seeping into everything else on the plate.
So, what could be better than combining the two preparation methods – roasting and currying – and making Curried Roasted Squash Soup? Finally, butternut squash lives up to its tasty-sounding name!
There are recipes for similar autumnal soups all over the place, but this particular Curried Roasted Squash Soup recipe comes from the cookbook Dishing Up Maine by Brooke Dojny (Storey, 2006).
We’re still having tropical weather in New England in mid-October, but the author has written it up on the publisher’s Web site as Polar Vortex Soup, and you’ll find the full recipe there. I tasted it at our library cookbook club meeting last month, where Dishing Up Maine was an alternate selection with other Maine cookbooks. Delicious!
The recipe does call for 1/4 cup of brown sugar, which I’m planning to cut in half when I make it. The apple and cinnamon make the soup seem sweet already, so I don’t think we’ll miss the extra brown sugar too much.
I’m still recovering from a nasty cold, so I’ve been eating a lot of chicken and rice soup. My husband made me some and I ate all of it, so I’ve been resorting to cans of Progresso Chicken and Wild Rice.
For a change of pace, and to brighten up a cloudy, snowy day, I’m going to make Curried Leek Vegetable Soup from Sharon Palmer’s blog. Here’s how she describes it:
Here’s a simple, flavorful soup recipe that you can throw together in minutes! The anti-inflammatory spices and antioxidant-rich veggies can help boost your health—and spirits—on the gloomiest day.
Doesn’t that look delicious?
Sharon Palmer is the author of Plant-Powered for Life, a cookbook and guidebook to adding more plant-based meals to your cooking repertoire. (Read my Weekend Cooking post about it here.)
If Curried Leek Vegetable Soup doesn’t sound good to you, then you might want to try one of the other 22 soups featured on SheKnows:
French Comfort Food is the kind of cookbook you might reach for more often in fall and winter, but cookbook author and Marche Dimanche food blogger Hillary Davis does have the ambitious home cook covered year-round with recipes like Perfect Crème Caramel (which can be served with either berries and fresh mint or sugar-frosted cranberries, depending on the season) and Summery Salade Niçoise Sandwiches.
Most of the recipes in French Comfort Food, though, are for hearty, substantial dishes such as the Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (Ratatouille Comme un Parmentier) pictured on the front cover – made with ratatouille instead of the traditional ground beef base – and Potato, Bacon, Cheese, and Wine Casserole (La Tartiflette) – which is just what it sounds like.
Here’s how the author describes the kind of home-style French food she fell in love with and pays homage to in her recipes:
There are dishes in every region of France that stand out as superb soul-soothers, the ones you would reach for on a gloomy day that are not well known and not easily found in cookbooks. There’s the ancient dish, crespéou, a stunning vegetable omelet cake standing high on a plat surrounded by a glorious sauce you swipe your fork through. Or the potato bacon, and melted cheese wonder from the alpine region of Savoy called tartiflette. What could be better than watching snowflakes fall while you tip your fork into this meltingly delicious casserole? Quite possibly, it could be another heartwarming, rich tasting casserole found in southwest France, called cassoulet, made with sausages and beans and duck. Once I tasted it, I fell in love and found myself searching for it in restaurants wherever I went. Now I have a way of cooking this labor-intensive dish at home in a slow cooker, and have included the recipe for you to try for yourself. And what about riz à l’impératrice, all the Normandy cider-apples-and-cream dishes; or Brittany’s butter cakes and cookies; French Alpine fondues; Alsatian quiches; Burgundy’s boeuf bourguignon and garlicky escargots; or the sun-drenched Midi’s much-loved fish soups and vegetable tians?
French Comfort Food is beautifully laid out with gorgeous photography by Steven Rothfeld. The book is hefty, with excellent-quality paper and a sewn binding, making this a great gift for Francophiles or anyone who likes the idea of learning to cook French food that’s not as elaborate and labor-intensive as haute cuisine. It lies open flat at any recipe in the book, and seems made to last. It also has an excellent 9-page index!
Just reading through the book is enjoyable – a bit like traveling through France with the author – but the recipes are also appealing and I wanted to try all of them, except the two veal ones (Alsatian Two-Crusted Meat Pie and Creamless Creamy Veal Stew with Mushrooms and Pearl Onions.) Many of the recipes aren’t suitable for people on restricted diets, but the cookbook includes recipes that could be made for just about anyone here, whether vegetarian, gluten-free, or low-carb. Low-calorie dieters might be out of luck, though.
The Creamiest Potato and Leek Soup with Chopped Scallions and Crumbled Bacon was absolutely delicious. Different eaters in the family could enjoy this, because the bacon is an optional topping.
The Chicken in Wine with Loads of Garlic (Poulet au Vin Avec Beaucoup d’Ail) was also delicious – chicken thighs made with fresh rosemary and thyme, as well as two whole heads of garlic.
Planned for this weekend: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Chestnuts (Soupe de Courge Musquée Rôtie et Marrons Glacés) and Brie Melted in Box with Brown Sugar for Two.
Used up all the carrots at Thanksgiving, so substituted pumpkin for carrots
Cubed squash and pumpkin, roasted with olive oil mixed with a little sugar and salt
Having this soup along with Thanksgiving leftovers for supper tonight. Photo of finished soup to come!