I wanted to host some friends to watch “Sound of Music Live!” on NBC with Carrie Underwood when it aired last week, so I sent out an enticing e-mail promising hearty soup, bread, and freshly baked cookies. Somehow I managed to convince three friends to show up.
About five minutes into the production, the soup was stealing the show. “This is melt-in-your-mouth good,” said Christy. “Can you give me the recipe?”
Rebecca, who had arrived announcing she had already had dinner, had two bowlfuls.
I was thrown off a bit, because I had made up the recipe. I felt my pride rise from the lake to the trees. Actually, once you know the basics in making soup (stock, thickner, seasoning) you can pretty much mix and match flavors to your heart's content. I had riffed on this pumpkin curry soup with some miscellaneous leftovers I had on hand: a 3/4 can of pumpkin purée, 1/4 roasted butternut squash, a withered apple, and a bit of rice.
You can adapt the amount of squash to your liking – for instance, you can use a whole can of pumpkin, no biggie. You can also add more or less broth, depending on your preferences for thickness. The flavors will improve overnight, if you can manage to save any leftovers. (I barely managed to save enough for the photo.)
By the time Liesl and Rolf were rolling down the remarkable fake hillside, the soup pot was empty. We watched the entire three-hour production, which had its highlights and amazing voices, mopped up our soup bowls with bread, and drank tea with our ginger molasses cookies. But mostly we missed Julie Andrews.
Thank goodness our bellies were full.
Squash coconut curry soup
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon curry
2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce canned pumpkin
1/4 butternut squash, roasted or cooked
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 13.-5-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup cooked brown rice
Squeeze of lime juice
Sour cream, to garnish
1. Cook the brown rice according to instructions.
2. If you need to cook your squash, a shortcut is to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, wrap the top half in plastic, and microwave for 8 minutes in a microwavable dish. Wait a few minutes before peeling back the plastic wrap because the squash will be very hot. Otherwise, you can roast face down in a pan with 1-inch of water for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree F. oven.
3. Melt the butter in a large soup pan. Add onion and sage and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes, stirring often.
4. Stir in flour and curry and gradually add broth, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened over medium-high heat.
5. Stir in pumpkin, butternut squash, apple, honey, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and nutmeg. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Use an immersion blender to work out any lumps, or ladle into a blender in parts, then return to the pot.
7. Stir in coconut milk and cooked rice, and heat through. Be sure to stir constantly or the rice will stick to the bottom.
8. Add a squeeze of fresh lime. Garnish with sour cream and chives. Serve.