Does it feel like fall in your corner of the country? In mine, not so much. Here in Los Angeles, you won’t find orchards of fruiting apple trees or leaves turning rich autumn hues. But at farmers markets around town, October is one of the most colorful months. From persimmons to pumpkins and all lovely edibles in between, the warm shades and flavors of the season abound.
This comforting soup blends the best of fall’s bounty into a creamless purée that’s full of character. It gets its kick from two of my favorite flavors — coconut and ginger. As for that knobby ginger bulb, don’t even bother wrestling with it. Just grate an unpeeled piece onto a plate, scoop the pulp into your hand, and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Ginger juice replaces minced one for one.
The Scallion-Cilantro Oil adds an exotic twist, brightening the flavors and making for an impressive presentation. It’s exciting enough to keep you slurping until you get to the bottom of the bowl. This soup could be just what we need to keep the brisk fall air — wherever it is — on the back burner all season long.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1-1/2 pounds chopped butternut squash (about 1 large), chopped roughly
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large tart green apple, peeled and sliced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Kosher salt to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger or ginger juice
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted, for garnish
Fresh Scallion-Cilantro Oil
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions, greens only
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onion, carrot, apple, garlic, brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden (this could take 10-15 minutes).
2. Add the ginger juice, broth, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the Scallion-Cilantro Oil: in a blender, purée the scallions, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil until smooth, salting to taste. Transfer to a bowl or to a squeeze bottle. Wash out the blender.
4. Discard the cinnamon stick from the soup and blend in small batches until smooth, adjusting the seasoning as needed.
5. At this point, you can transfer the puréed soup to a large container, cool it down, and refrigerate it until ready to serve. Just before serving, transfer the soup back to the pot, warm it over medium heat, and slowly stir in the coconut milk (the coconut milk will break if added too quickly). Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and garnish with a swirl of Scallion-Cilantro Oil and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.
To watch me demonstrating this recipe, go to Goodbite.com.
For more scrumptious fall dishes, check out all my recipes and videos at www.goodbite.com throughout this month and next! And don’t forget to enter our October cooking contest for a chance to win fab prizes!