Roasting vegetables before adding them to a soup brings out deeper flavors, and the soup is ready in half the time. Roasting also makes it easier to peel the squash: Simply slice it in half, then in half again to form quarters, and roast. Once the squash is soft, it’s a snap to scoop out the flesh.
This soup is a veritable feast for the senses: the exotic fragrances of the spices garnished with crème fraiche, lime zest, and fresh cilantro, the visual beauty of the finished soup, and the rich deep taste of the roasted vegetables.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 medium carrots, scrubbed
1 medium butternut squash, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
1 onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
5 springs fresh cilantro
½ cup crème fraiche, or whole milk plain yogurt
Zest of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make the Soup: Lightly oil a shallow 13 x 9-inch baking dish and spread the carrots, shallots, and squash in the dish in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes. With a fork or tongs, transfer the carrots and shallots to a cutting board (they cook faster than the squash) and bake the squash for 15 minutes more, until soft. Let the squash cool slightly, then scoop out the seeds and remove and discard the skin; set the flesh aside in a bowl. When cool enough to handle, slice the carrots into 1-inch lengths and coarsely chop the shallots.
Meanwhile, in a 4-quart stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened.
Stir in the ginger, turmeric, curry powder, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the fragrant oils from the spices to release. Add the roasted carrots, shallots, and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more, so the vegetables absorb all the flavors.
Pour in the stock and 2 cups water and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer the soup for about 25 minutes, until everything is tender. Test for doneness by spearing the larger pieces of squash with a sharp knife. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup directly in the pot. Alternatively, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth – be careful, as the soup is hot.
Make the Garnish: Chop the cilantro leaves and combine with the yogurt and the lime zest. Drop a large tablespoonful into the center of each bowl of hot soup just before serving.
Serves 6 to 8