Eating local takes on another level of satisfaction when you have the good fortune to eat what you’ve just harvested from your own garden. My butternut squash plants had a good summer and are now treating me to what is sure to be a tasty fall and winter. Low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, butternut squash is a nutrient-dense vegetable commonly available in the cooler months. You can capture its particularly high concentration of vitamin A in soups, roasted, mashed or baked into sweet breads and desserts.
As committed as I am to eating food from here, I also love many flavors from afar. Though that may sound incompatible, it is often just an ingredient or two, or a specific herb, spice or seasoning, that gives an otherwise locally sourced dish an international flavor. Kaffir lime leaves, for example, decidedly not native to northern Vermont, but recently spotted at the local food coop, lend a uniquely delicious Thai flavor to this soup.
Butternut Squash Soup with a Touch of Thai
- 1 average-sized butternut squash (or 2 small), peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
- 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled (for a smoother soup) or unpeeled (for greater nutrition), cubed
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
- 8 cups water or vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 cup coconut milk, cream or milk
- possible toppings: cilantro, Thai basil, croutons, roasted pepitas or butternut squash seeds, shredded coconut, peanuts, sriracha hot sauce and/or a swirl of cream.
- Melt coconut oil in a soup pot and sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic.
- Stir in potato and squash cubes and stir to coat.
- Pour in water or stock, add kaffir lime leaves and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover until vegetables are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- With an immersion blender in the soup pot or in batches in a traditional blender, puree the soup to a velvety smooth consistency. Stir in milk.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.