By Karina Allrich
Every October I make batches of this gorgeous, comforting soup. That just so happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. The secret is -- use ripe flavorful squash. Choose a butternut squash with firm golden-tan skin. The squash should make a hollow ring when thumped.
This creamy and cozy soup recipe uses butternut squash (my personal favorite among the Cucurbit family) but you could also use fresh pumpkin. Once in a blue moon I've been known to add an apple or two to this recipe. Try it if you're in the mood to apple up the flavor; taste test for seasoning adjustments.
Variations include adding a dash of dry sherry or Calvados brandy and serving with shredded apple garnish, or sprinkling with curry powder and hot red pepper flakes over a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. For those of you preferring lower glycemic carbs, use agave nectar instead of maple syrup.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 teaspoons mild gluten-free curry powder
4 cups diced butternut squash
4 to 6 cups light vegetable broth (or fresh water)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or raw agave nectar, to taste
½ to 1 cup coconut milk
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and curry powder; stir and cook until the onion softens. Add the squash and broth. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
Simmer until the squash is very soft and fork tender- maybe 30 minutes. Add a bit more water if you need to keep the squash from sticking to the pot- I didn't need to, but, Bubbe you never know.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender till smooth. Stir in the maple syrup and coconut milk. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
Warm through gently and serve.
Chef, painter and script doctor Karina Allrich develops gluten-free recipes for her popular blog Gluten-free Goddess, mentioned in Newsweek magazine as the go-to on-line source for "creative recipes and cooking tips from an experienced gluten-free chef." Winner of the Whole Foods Budget Recipe Challenge in 2008, Karina is the author of two cookbooks, Recipes from a Vegetarian Goddess (reprinted as Cooking By The Seasons) and Cooking By Moonlight.