Yotam Ottolenghi is my muse. I love his bold flavors, energetic spirit and infectious love for food. This is a rather radical modification of a recipe in his latest book, Simple. Rose harissa is somewhat hard to find (I get it at the Cheese Importers in Longmont, Colorado), but regular harissa that you make yourself or buy will be totally delicious. This is great as a side dish, something to bring to a dinner party (whenever that happens again…), or to add a little heft to a night when all your serving is a big salad. I find this intensely flavorful dish to be totally craveable. And for me, as long as it’s healthy, I don’t think we should make/eat any food that’s not in the category of craveable. Life is too damn short to spend time making and eating food that’s just meh.
This deeply satisfying soup is super simple to make. Please use the full-fat coconut milk — don’t use the “light/lite” unless you want this to taste meh. I also love this recipe because I nearly always have every ingredient on hand, especially in the fall when the butternut squash are in season. The curry powder is from Savory Spice — it’s called Mild Curry Powder (link below). But I call it the “Hippy Curry Powder” because it tastes like every curry I ever had from “vegetarian restaurants” versus actual Indian restaurants. It’s just pretty much a generic, run of the mill Americanized curry powder.
I’ve messed around with making a variety of alternative cheeses, but I’m just not a fan of ingredients like tapioca flour or agar agar powder, etc. This recipe is my latest obsession because it’s so simple and incredibly delicious. Adding a bit of brine from your favorite fermented vegetable gives it a dose of healthy probiotics, too. To get the super creamy texture, however, you will need a bad ass blender like BlendTec or a VitaMix. If you try making it in a food processor or a normal blender, the result will still be tasty, but the texture will be a bit grainy.
I kinda love butternut squash soup. Sure, if served I’ll eat it, and even I’ll probably even feign that I like it. But most times it’s usually just kinda bland and the texture isn’t all that pleasing. However, this particular recipe I created is actually craveable. In fact, my 16-year-old daughter asked while eating it if I could make this every month in the winter. Yes, I made it in an Instant Pot, but not necessary. For those who don’t have one (is that even possible?!), simply make on the stovetop in a soup pot making certain to cook the squash fully.
The key to making this soup so dang luscious is two-fold: 1. Use full-fat coconut milk in a can. Don’t skimp and use the coconut milk you pour on your cereal or use the ridiculous “reduced-fat” coconut milk. No, just use full octane tasty, silky, fatty coconut milk. 2. Puree in a blender, preferably one like a Vitamix with a lot of horsepower. Don’t be lazy and just use your immersion blender. I promise it won’t taste nearly as good. And then you’ll be disappointed and will likely throw out what you don’t eat. Which is even worse than using reduced-fat coconut milk.
Also, I’m very well aware that simply using curry powder from a jar is not “real” curry powder. Whatever. I make a lot of Indian food and create my own curry, so I get it. BUT sometimes the generic, sorta quintessential American curry powder just hits the spot, especially if you are serving to kids or people who are not huge fans of too much spice. And I don’t know about you, but that generic curry powder is just so evocative of hippie comfort food that sometimes I just crave it.
This is my go-to flatbread when I’m entertaining or wanting to cut back a little on gluten. It’s super simple and most everyone loves it. Oftentimes I make it without the rosemary because either I simply forget (thank you, menopause) or our rosemary plant is dead (more often the case). Either way, it’s delicious. This is a common appetizer served in the south of France (Socca), as well as in northern Italy (Faranita).