Coconut Spice Butternut Squash Soup
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 cups water
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons Himalayan rock salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds and/or cilantro, for garnish (optional)
1.Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of ghee and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves Season with salt and pepper. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of ghee in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, onion, and paprika, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
4. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the spices and onions; discard the skins.
5. Add the water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coconut milk.
6. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Alternatively, use an immersion blender. (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND INVESTING in an immersion blender. Soooo much easier! Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds and/or cilantro, if using.
In the winter it is best to eat more rich, warming and nourishing foods to help balance the cold and drying effects of the weather. From a western perspective, Butternut squash is extremely high in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese. Butternut squash is also an excellent source of potassium. From an Ayurvedic perspective, it helps to balance pitta and vata due to its heavy and sweet nature. This is a great dish to bring to a potluck because it is inexpensive to make, and a real crowd pleaser!
Recipe by Britt Barrett http://www.dailyayurveda.com