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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Curied Carrot, Squash and Kale Soup

The weather in Chicago has been forecast as freezing fog for the past 4 days - who knew fog could freeze?  Seriously. 
I had no interest in leaving the house to venture through this freezing fog for a grocery store run.  That means working with whatever is in the fridge or pantry.  I found  a bag of kale, 1/2 of a butternut squash and a small acorn squash.  Clearly this was a soup waiting to happen.

Not wanting just a typical squash soup, I decided to add a hint of curry to the flavors-  just enough without overpowering.  Sautee the kale first, then set aside while the squash cooks, adding the kale back in after you have pureed the soup.  Dave even liked it, and based on the name- he was none too interested at first.  I'm excited for this soup for another reason other than the great simple flavor, I have a friend with a quite a few dietary limitations. This soup should enable her a healthy and satisfying meal - Kiran, let me know if this is suitable (it should be the first of many recipes to come for you!)

Enjoy the simplicity of this dish with a big hunk of bread and a glass of sparkling water.  It totally beats hanging out in freezing fog!

Tips and tricks:  if you feel the need for meat, add a crumbled sausage while sauteeing the kale.  The sausage will hold up really nicely to these flavors.  If you want a little hint of decadence, crumble a little bit of goat cheese on the top

Curried carrot, Squash and Kale Soup

Sautee the Kale first:
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, add:
4 cups of  chopped Kale, rinsed (do not dry the kale, leave some water on it to help it cook)
Fresh ground pepper
1 tbls dried thyme
Sautee about 10 minutes, less if you like crunchier kale. If the pan is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water
remove from pan and set aside

In the same pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add:
1/2 cup diced red onion
Sautee for a few minutes

1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbls ground thyme
dash cayenne
1 tsp yellow curry

Continue to sautee until the onions are softened, stir often.  The seasonings may begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, that's okay.  Again, if the pan is too dry here, add in another drizzle of olive oil.

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 small acorn squash (or use all butternut), peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

Sautee for a few minutes and add enough water to just cover the veggies, roughly 1 or 2 cups.  The water will deglaze the pan and get all the spices off the bottom (you could also use a coconut milk here too.). Simmer until the squash and carrots are softened.  Use an immersion blender to blend smooth (or place in your blender, carefully blend). Add more liquid if the soup is too stiff.

 Add the kale into the soup and heat through.  Serve.

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