Articles & Recipes

Curried Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup

November 17, 2018

This soup is delicious, but very rich; a little goes a long way. Serve small bowls as the first course of a special holiday dinner or make it a cold-weather treat. Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, it’s an ideal antidote to a fall or winter freeze. Ladle hot soup into mugs and hand them to brave souls returning from outdoor excursions.

Ingredients Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 mL
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped (see Tip) 3
2 cloves garlic, chopped 2
1 tbsp minced gingerroot 15 mL
1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
1 whole star anise 1
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock 1.25 L
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 lb/500 g, cut into 1-inch/2.5 cm cubes) 750 mL
1 tbsp curry powder (preferably Madras) 15 mL
1⁄2 cup heavy or whipping (35%) cream or soy creamer, divided 125 mL
1 can (15 oz/435 mL) unsweetened chestnut purée, removed from can and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes 1

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, gingerroot, peppercorns and star anise and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Transfer to a large (minimum 5-quart) slow cooker. Stir in squash. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, until squash is very tender.
  2. In a small bowl, place curry powder. Gradually add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of the cream, beating until smooth. Set aside for 2 minutes to allow curry to absorb the cream. Stir into slow cooker. Add chestnut purée and stir well, mashing purée into soup as best you can. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until flavors meld. Discard star anise. Working in batches, purée soup in a food processor or blender. (You can also do this in the stoneware using an immersion blender.) Ladle into bowls and drizzle with remaining cream.
To clean leeks, fill sink full of lukewarm water. Split leeks in half lengthwise and submerge in water, swishing them around to remove all traces of dirt. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water. Straight from the can, chestnut purée is very congealed. Cutting it into small cubes before adding it to the soup helps it to integrate into the stock. Use a wooden spoon to mash it up a bit and be aware that once the soup is puréed, if not before, it will be completely integrated.

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