CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, SWEET POTATO AND FENNEL SOUP
I like soup. No, I love soup! I can eat it anytime, anywhere, any kind, in any weather.
When I was growing up there was never a Sunday without chicken soup with homemade noodles (which is still my favourite to this day). I make soups quite often, depending on my mood, or at a request from my family, they usually reflect the produce that is in season and the temperatures outside.
This is a wintery one - smooth, creamy, with a bit of a kick and warmth from the curry and some sweetness from the butternut squash, sweet potato and fennel. It can also be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water as your liquid.
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED:
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 small head of fennel, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium red onion (or white), peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
6 -8 whole mini tomatoes (or 2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped)
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
4-5 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add onion, butternut squash, fennel, sweet potatoes and garlic. Sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Add curry powder and smoked paprika and toast the spices with vegetables for a couple of minutes, stirring so they don't burn. Make a bit of room inside the pot and add tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir it all together before adding the tomatoes and enough liquid of your choice (I used vegetable stock) to cover the vegetables by about one inch. Season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaf and thyme, then bring to a boil and cook on low heat until all of the vegetables are fork tender (20-30 minutes, depending on the sizes).
When the vegetables are soft, remove the bay leaf and puree the rest with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth, adding some liquid if too thick. Adjust the seasoning. (I like to let this soup stand for half an hour, so the flavours really have the chance to meld together, then reheat gently if needed before serving)
Serve it with your favourite toppings. Here are some suggestions:
plain yogurt or sour cream, toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, orange or lemon zest, drizzle of honey, bread cubes browned in butter, cilantro, arugula microgreens, goat's cheese, cooked chicken, cooked lentils