Have you ever heard of Honey Nut Squash? I had not when I walked past them at market Saturday morning. They appeared to be a smaller, darker version of butternut squash and I was told the flavor was similar as well, if not a bit more concentrated. I grabbed a small handful and brought them home to experiment with.
One of my favorite combinations is butternut squash and parsnips. I figured honey nut squash would pair nicely with them as well and as I just so happened to be harvesting my not-entirely-bumper crop of parsnips, I roasted some of them in the oven while it was on. Roasted squash and parsnips are the start of many a meal in this house this time of year – on their own with some butter they are a nice side dish, add some broth or milk or both and create a soup, add an egg and some flour and make a squash ‘pancake’ (think potato pancakes). I had a hankering for something with a little kick to it, to balance out the sweetness. This time of year also makes me crave curries, so I decided to get jiggy with some curry powder and make a curried cream of squash soup. Served on the side was some roasted okra, which at first was seen as a slightly interesting combination, but you know what? It turned out to be quite lovely. Okra season is definitely winding down, which is a bummer, because roasted okra may actually be better than fried – and we love fried okra.
As for the soup, if you can’t find honey nut squash, you can easily substitute butternut squash. While the flavor in the honey nut squash was a little sweeter than butternut squash, there was not much yield from 4 of them, which made just enough soup for the 3 of us for dinner with no leftovers for lunches. I don’t have a pretty shot of the finished soup either – as I was making dinner, I was of course doing numerous other things while attempting to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour on a school night with my kitchen looking something like this:
That’s right, every square inch of my counter top was being used by something. I absolutely will share with you the other projects I had going on (rending pork fat into lard & rice bread), but for now you are only getting my Curried Squash & Parsnip soup recipe.
As per my usual, I’m guesstimating amounts here, as the only time I ever bother to properly measure anything is when I’m baking. Take away the curry powder and you have my recipe for creamy squash & parsnip soup. Cut the amount of liquid and you have my basic recipe for mashed roasted squash and parsnips. This is the first year we haven’t had a bumper crop of volunteer butternut squash in the garden and I’m finding I miss having a pile of them to use up. I guess I’ll actually have to plant some next year – and I’m definitely planting those honey nut squash. I’ve got a nice handful of seeds drying out right now that I saved from the chicken scrap bowl for next year’s garden.
Enough babble. Onto the recipe.
Curried Roasted Squash & Parsnip Soup.
Slice squash in half, scooping out seeds and placing flesh side down in a baking pan with about an inch or so of water. Bake at 350 until squash is soft and the flesh is easily scooped out. Set aside. Toss parsnips with olive oil and roast until soft.
Saute chopped onion in oil (or butter) until translucent. Add a few cloves of minced garlic and freshly grated ginger. (I used about 4 cloves of garlic and about an inch of ginger). Stir in, then add a teaspoon of curry powder. Cook for 2 minutes or until wonderfully fragrant, add about a teaspoon of flour, cook another minute, stirring. Add the roasted vegetables and a cup or so of broth. (I used vegetable, but chicken is nice too). Add salt – about a teaspoon – and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Puree soup, leaving no chunks, then add about a cup of milk or more (or cream. Or both. I like to use half heavy cream, half skim milk) until you reach desired consistency. Bring the soup to not quite a simmer and serve.
I imagine this soup would be even better if made ahead of time, then left alone for a few hours for the flavors to meld more. It might also be nice with coconut milk. It could also be made without any milk, just broth.