One of my recent CSA deliveries included a red Kuri Squash. The name inspired me to create a velvety squash soup with red curry and meaty chestnuts. I started with my own broth, made from a mirepoix with oyster mushrooms and simmered with kaffir lime leaves and ginger. (Note that the mirepoix & mushrooms method is a great way to make vegetarian soup broth in general.) The soup itself has the consistency of a vichyssoise or other creamy soup, with chestnuts adding some substance and is sort of Thai-French-American fusion… I recommend serving each bowl with a bit of fresh cilantro.
Roasted chestnuts that are pre-shelled are often available at Japanese or Chinese grocery stores (like Nijiya or 99 Ranch) in vacuum sealed packages. They’re pretty convenient and tasty! One forenote…I’m not a big fan of Trader Joe’s red curry sauce (I didn’t have a chance to try it before this recipe), so if you make this I’d recommend using Thai red curry paste that comes in a tub.
The only reason I used the Trader Joe’s brand is because normally Thai curry paste is not vegetarian because it includes shrimp paste. I now regret that decision…it would’ve been better with the sacrificed shrimp. If I made it again, I might also add some sprigs of lemongrass to the both while simmering.
Curry Kuri Squash Soup with Chestnuts
- 1 Kuri Squash (or other winter squash)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 small carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms (or other mushrooms)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 large coin fresh ginger
- 3 cups water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/2 bottle of Trader Joe’s red curry sauce (or a few tbsp red curry paste instead)
- 1+ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 cups chopped roasted, shelled chestnuts
- fresh cilantro for garnish
Add the water and soy sauce and mix well. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. If you just want a vegetarian stock, once the broth tastes flavorful enough to you, simply strain out the liquid and you have a very good vegetable broth. For the squash soup, continue on…
Add the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, and ginger coins. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes. (I put a couple of tomatoes in with the broth just because…I don’t think it added anything special though. Not sure why I added it. But that explains that tomato you see floating there that isn’t included in the ingredients list…)