What is it about that craving for orange vegetables in the fall? I'm thinking it's some primal need to hone our night vision, knowing that shorter days and longer nights are ahead. I can never pass up butternut squash, and I am deeply indebted to Costco for carrying large packages of pre-cut butternut squash cubes at this time of year. I buy them four at a time, toss them with olive oil and salt, roast good and hot, and eat them like french fries.
But the soup: It's thick and creamy, but dairy-free. I like the flavor of coconut milk with orange vegetables. I used a very small amount of Thai curry paste to appease my kids - the kind I get is spicy - but use more if you like. And if you don't have a hand-held immersion blender yet, please, I beg you, make that your next kitchen purchase. If nothing else, you will cook more soup, because it makes it so, so easy.
There's an alternate title for this post, by the way: The Power of Croutons. By which I mean that in my house, if there are croutons on top of a bowl of soup, I am sure that bowl of soup will end up in the belly of my younger son. I never worry about the elder - he's a true gourmand - but the little one can be picky, in that maddeningly "But you ate it and loved it a week ago!" sort of way. I buy an extra loaf of bread every week or two, cube it, toss it with olive oil and garlic salt, and bake it until the bits are golden. When cool and stored in a sealed plastic bag or container, homemade croutons keep a good long time, and they have this magical soup-enhancing power - in my house, at least.
Beta carotene soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Thai yellow curry paste
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups grated or diced carrots
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin flesh (canned is fine)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock