Recipe: Butternut Coconut Soup

I don't like squash. It's mushy. It's baby food. It's bland. And sometimes it's spaghetti squash, which for some reason I find absolutely disgusting even to look at.


But someone was talking about making butternut squash soup, and it sounded good, so I made some.
Lee: Are you planning to make anything for supper tonight?
De: Butternut coconut soup. But I don't think you'll like it...whatever you make, make some for Rachael, okay? I don't think she'll like it either. I may not like it either. But I need to experimente.
Lee: Okay.
They had peanut butter marshmallow grilled sandwiches, which I think might be the perfect accompaniment to the soup.

Being generally against the idea of squash and the eating thereof, I have no idea what to do with them. I look up a butternut squash soup recipe on the internet. Step 1: Roast at 350F for 1.5 hours. Hm. I don't hate squash enough to spend that much time torturing it. I decide to peel the squash and saute it.

With my good, sharp, trusty knife, I cut the squash in half lengthwise, which is like cutting a 2-by-4 with a wet noodle. Wow, that was tough, I think. Maybe peeling it will be easier.

After jamming my fingernails several times into the peel and getting painful Chinese-under-the-fingernail torture, I realize peeling the butternut squash is a bad plan.

I turn on the oven. I turn off the oven. I'm NOT roasting something for 1.5 hours just to get the damned peel off. I turn toward the microwave, which whimpers.

Which was not nearly as amusing as the sound of the butternut squash screaming after 3 minutes nuked on high. HAHAHA! I should have pricked the flesh with a fork, but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. However, the squash is still not coming out of its peel, so I nuke it some more...about ten or eleven minutes total. I'm not sure how long; as soon as I could scrape each piece off its peel, I pulled it off the plate. Also, I kept opening the microwave door as Lee and Ray walk by, so they can hear the squash screaming too.

Meanwhile, I chopped half a red onion and a couple of tablespoons of ginger and sauteed them in a few Tbs of butter. I added a teaspoon of Rogan Josh seasoning, which I got from Penzey's last year. A year! It's a shame; I really don't know how to handle Indian spices, and all I'm using the RJ for is seasoning food that turns out to be too bland, while I'm at work.

Then, knife in hand...

Hassan Chop!

...I spy the McIntosh apple sitting on the counter.

Now, the McIntosh apples I find at the grocery store are nowhere near as good as the apples we used to have on the farm, at least as far as I can remember. The flesh is too mushy, not crisp enough (my perfect apples, in non-memoryland, are Pink Lady, so far). But the McIntoshes still smell right, the one true apple breed as far as I'm concerned. If I ever get around to making cider, I'll have to start with McIntosh.

Goodbye, apple.

Then I add one container of coconut milk. Coconut milk is one of those things that, if you're going to buy it, get a reasonably pricy brand. Cheapass coconut milk is AWFUL. I got the Sunflower house brand this time, and it was just fine.

Things are starting to come together in the soup pot. It smells good, anyway. But I can't resist screwing around, so I add a tablespoon of peanut butter.

I'm more used to the Thai flavor profile than the Indian, so I'm thinking in Thai, coconut + peanuts = good. And it's tasty. Not spectacular or anything, but tasty.

After I got the kitchen cleaned up and simmered the stuff for about 10 minutes, I pureed it all in the blender. [Insert blender sound effects here.]

I make Lee and Ray taste it:
Lee: It's okay...it tastes like squash.

Ray: It's missing the main thing.
Me: What's that?
Ray: Well, coconut.
Me: I put a whole can of coconut in it and I'm not going to do anymore.
Ray: [Walks away. Probably the safest option at that point.]
I thought it was too bland.

So I added another teaspoon of RJ. And a teaspoon of true cinnamon. And a teaspoon of thyme, because it sounded good. And a teaspoon of salt.

Hm...suddenly I can taste the peanut butter, in a good way. Not enough onion; red was probably a poor choice, and half an onion not nearly enough. And spicier = better. Not enough to make my nose run, though, so I'll probably add some more when I reheat the leftovers.

Conclusion: DEATH TO SQUASH!

I would eat butternut squash again, if in a spicy dish for sure, and I would consider using pumpkin instead of butternut squash here. I really don't eat pumpkin, either. Could be interesting...

Suggested recipe:

1 butternut squash, heated to mushiness via microwave (about 10 minutes) and peeled
2T butter (or more)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 T ginger, minced
1 McIntosh apple, or anything but a Red Delicious, diced (didn't bother peeling, no issues)
1 small can of coconut milk, and an equal amount of water (or 2x the amount; the soup was really thick)
2t Rogan Josh seasoning (cardamom, bay, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne according to one recipe)
1t cinnamon
1t thyme
1t salt (or to taste)

Saute the onion, ginger, Rogan Josh, and apple in butter. When the onion is translucent and soft, add the coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Add the squash as you remove it from its skin, chopping the squash roughly if necessary. Simmer about ten minutes, then puree. Add cinnamon, thyme, and salt to taste, and serve.