It feels kind of like fall is here, at least Houston's version of fall. I had tea and granola on the balcony this morning, and it was pleasantly cool. It's in the 80s this afternoon, but the humidity is low, so we can imagine that it's crisp outside even if it is a little warm. This is a great fall soup. Squash is of course a classic fall ingredient, and the warm curry spices and sweetness of the cider are perfect when the weather is cooler. With a nice green salad or a big helping of sauteed kale and maybe some crusty bread, this makes a healthy, hearty dinner. The recipe is from Jeanne Lemlin's Vegetarian Classics, my very first vegetarian cookbook. My grandparents got it for me the year I "converted", and it's full of good, solid recipes I keep coming back to.
Butternut squash and apple cider soup
Serves 4 as a main course.
3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3 cups water
3 cups apple cider
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 tsp salt
Heat the oil at medium in a large soup pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle on the curry powder, toss, and cook one minute. Pour in the water and cider, then stir in the butternut squash, rice, and salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the squash is very soft, about 20 minutes. Conveniently, the rice will be done by then too. Puree in batches in a food processor or use a hand blender and blend it in the pot.
Instead of throwing out the butternut squash seeds, you can roast them like you would pumpkin seeds. Lightly coat them with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, seasoned salt, cayenne, or whatever suits your fancy, and roast them at 400 F until they start turning golden. I do this in the toaster oven because it's really easy to monitor them.