My office manager is really great…and I’m not just saying that because she reads my blog. Nope, I’m saying that because she’s always bringing in delicious meals or yummy treats for me to enjoy. I mostly think she’s being nice, but sometimes I think she secretly enjoys sabotaging my weight loss. For instance, today’s lunch was a soup with a Mexican name that roughly translates in English to “meat in its own juices.” I rarely end up resisting these lunches, and when the “meat” involved is pork, beef and bacon, resistance is obviously futile.
But it wasn’t today’s delicious lunch that spawned this post. In fact, it was a soup that she brought in on a previous occasion (and many times after) that I’m going to tell you about today. Let’s call this soup “Butternut Squash Soup with a Kick“…because that is its name.
About a year ago, she brought in this delicious soup. It involves butternut squash, coconut milk, fresh ginger and jalapeño pepper. I was completely hooked, but never bothered to make it myself because it also involves a blender, and I didn’t have one. Plus she was making this soup like every other week, so I just hitched my wagon to her soup train and kept my mouth shut. But then the tides turned, summer arrived and my office manager didn’t make the soup for a disappointingly long time. Around the same time, a blender magically showed up in our apartment (if you think my roommate bringing one from home is magic), and I wound up actually being home on a weekend long enough to whip up something that didn’t come with microwave instructions. All signs pointed to me making soup!
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 (2 pound) butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or to taste
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, ginger, and jalapeno pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the evaporated milk, coconut milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes more. Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth, and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with sour cream and thyme to serve. Makes 6 servings.
And here are my two cents:
- Peeling a butternut squash is hard – really hard. I was in a full sweat by the time I got the rind off my squash, plus there were some scary moments where my fingers were dangerously close to having no skin. I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I had purchased my vegetable peeler at the dollar store earlier in the day, but still, you might want to check out these tips for peeling a butternut squash.
- Grating fresh ginger is fun, so you’ll have no problems adding more. 2 teaspoons, puh-lease! Double it – at least; you’ll be glad you did.
- Using a 1/2 cup of coconut milk leaves you with a 1/2 can of coconut milk. What good is that to anyone? Either make yourself a piña colada, or dump that whole can in your soup.
- I’d throw in a bit more sugar.
- Wear gloves to chop the jalapeño pepper if you don’t want a tingly sensation in your hands (and everywhere else your hands touch) the rest of the evening.
- If you don’t have sour cream or fresh thyme, don’t sweat it. This soup is every bit as good without any garnish.
- This soup is incredibly thick and creamy. It is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, and has definite layers of flavor. You’ll be able to taste all of your ingredients simultaneously.
- I used low-fat evaporated milk. I also think you could easily cook the onion, pepper and ginger in olive oil or cooking spray to cut the butter calories. The Weight Watchers recipe builder (with low-fat ev. milk and butter) gives this soup a Points value of 5/serving. Not too terrible. Of course, that is if you can resist eating the entire pot in one serving :)