I bought a banana squash the other day for the sole reason that I had never had one before, let alone tried to cook one. When I went to look for banana squash recipes, though, there wasn’t much to be found. In fact, after perusing some of the big sites (like Recipezaar and Epicurious), all I came away with was a sneaking suspicion that my banana squash was sufficiently like a butternut squash that the two might be used interchangably. (Perhaps someone who knows more about the world of winter squashes could educate me on this point?)
With that in mind, and a laziness that completely squelched any thoughts of going to the supermarket for ingredients, I pulled out Easy Vegetarian: Simple Recipes for Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner , which we had been given for Christmas. The book, written by a whole mess of authors (seemingly too many, in fact, for a 240 page cookbook!), is definitely one that prides itself on pretty pictures and after focusing on a slew of cookbooks with no pictures in the last few months, having some visuals was a welcome change. In fact, it was partly the picture of the rich, velvety butternut and cashew soup that sold me on it.
Though the soup was quite good, I’m guessing that some of the substitutions I made (because I couldn’t be bothered to make sure we had all of the right ingredients- whoops!), were less than optimal. The banana squash was not terribly different in taste, as far as I could tell, but my version came out a pale yellow, rather than that lovely, distinctive butternut color. Of course, using skim rather than whole milk could have contributed, as could cutting down on the butter and oil. And yes, I realized halfway through that we didn’t have curry powder so after sniffing around at some of our more mysterious spices, I settled on something called Punjabi Chole Masala, which didn’t have quite the kick I would have liked. Still, the texture of the soup was just lovely- it was thick and creamy and filling, especially when accompanied by a slice of fresh-baked bread. Were you to recreate it with my changes (which I don’t recommend, if possible!), just add salt and pepper liberally to give it a little more oomph.
Below is the recipe as intended.
Easy Vegetarian‘s Butternut squash soup (serves 4)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 tsp medium curry powder
2/3 cup milk
1 cup cashews, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
country bread to serve (optional)
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a suacepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until soft (not brown).
2. Add the chopped squash, curry powder, and a little salt and pepper. Stir, then cook for 5 minutes.
3. Pour in 2 cups water and 3/4 cup milk. Bring the mixture to a boil before lowering the heat and letting it simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Add the cashews and cool briefly. Working in batches if necessary, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and thick. Alternatively, use a stick blender and blend the soup in the saucepan.
5. Reheat the soup as necessary. Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve hot with country bread.