(recycled from 1/5/2011)
Yellow and sweet. The color and taste which treat the digestive system in Chinese Medicine. If you're feeling anything like I am at the moment, your digestive system could use a little tender loving care after the whirlwind that is November through December with Thanksgiving followed by one Christmas party after another. Instead of making daunting New Year's resolutions by starving yourself, this soup will soothe you and your stomach without breaking the scale further.
Right now root vegetables, gourds, and tubers are in season. And, eating in season is the best way to truly eat medicinally. Butternut squash tastes precisely as it has been rightly named. Buttery (without butter), sweet, and meaty in it's own right. This soup takes no longer than 30 minutes to make and you can freeze batches of it if you plan to reheat whenever you need a little more tender loving care for your stomach, which is precisely what the Year of the Rabbit (coming up on February 3) is all about, gentle and soothing after the fire of the Year of the Tiger.
Ingredients: 1 medium or large butternut squash, 1 white onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 leek, 1 tbspn tomato paste, salt, pepper, curry powder (or use a combination of cumin, tumeric, dried chile), 1 tsp fresh ground ginger, cilantro, plain yogurt (my preference is Greek yogurt), chicken or vegetable stock, 1 bay leaf
1. Peel squash and slice through the center, de-seed (you can keep them to toast and eat if you wish). Chop into large squares.
2. Slice onion into moon slices, wash and slice whole leek, mince 1 garlic clove, mince up 1 tsp of ginger, have all other spices and ingredients on hand.
3. Saute onion, leek, and squash until they both get a little soft and have color (about 5+ minutes), add minced garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbspn tomato paste, 1 tbspn curry powder or aforementioned combination of spices (you can add this to taste), keep cooking all together until it's well mixed then add 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
4. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the squash is soft, add 1 cup of plain yogurt (if you wish to have a thicker creamier soup, add 1 cup of coconut milk instead). Boil together another 5 minutes, pull out bay leaves and then let the soup cool for a few minutes before blending together (either with an immersion blender or in a regular blender, in which case you would need it to be at room temperature).
5. Reheat and serve with a garnish of cilantro if you wish and a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt.