“If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest.”
–Douglas William Jerrold

Three soups: Winter Squash; Carrot; Potato

Thai-Spiced Winter Squash Soup

An immersion blender is called for in this recipe, however, a food processor or potato masher will do a good job too.

2 smallish winter squash, or a large one
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 can coconut milk, 14-ounce
1 t (or more) Thai curry paste, or a curry powder/red pepper flake combo
water or stock
sea salt, to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds, as garnish (optional)
fresh cilantro, parsley, chopped, as garnish), optional

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F  and place the oven racks in the middle.

2. Pierce the squash in a couple of places to allow steam to escape and to prevent a squash explosion in your oven. Roast on a baking pan for about an hour or until the squash is tender throughout. Test by inserting a knife–if it goes in easily, it’s done.

3. When the pumpkin/squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put the squash flesh in the bowl of a food processor or a large bowl, add the butter and puree (by machine or hand) to a smooth consistency (or not, up to you) then put into a large pot over medium heat; otherwise put the squash pieces and butter into a large pot over medium heat.

4. Add the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, if using. You should have a very thick base at this point. Now add water or stock a cup at a time pureeing (or stirring) between additions until the soup is the consistency you prefer. Bring up to a simmer again and add the salt and more curry paste if you like.

5. Serve, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or cilantro or parsley.

Potato Soup

This is a very basic soup, the potato equivalent of spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. The liquid is merely water and the flavor of the soup depends entirely on the taste and quality of the potatoes and olive oil/butter you use. Fortunately, Stew’s potatoes taste great, so the rest is up to you. This recipe serves 2 or 3, so increase ingredients as needed.

3 T extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium potatoes (about 1 pound), cut in rough 1/2-inch dice
2 c water
3/4 t salt

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the oil (butter) and onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes.

2. Add the potatoes, and stir well to coat potatoes with the oil. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, until potatoes begin to sizzle.

3. Add the water and salt. Cover and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat and simmer briskly for about 10 minutes, until potatoes are very tender.

4. With a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, mash at least half of the potatoes, leaving the mixture lumpy and soupy.

5. Simmer another couple of minutes and serve very hot.

Creamy Carrot Soup

Rice gives this soup its “creamy” texture.

2 cups carrots,sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons rice
1 pinch grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
grated lemon peel

Place all of the soup ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables and rice are tender, about 20 minutes.

Cool slightly and puree the mixture until smooth. Just before serving,
adjust the seasonings. Reheat the soup, garnish as desired and serve hot.