Maybe it's because I'm a Florida girl and never experienced drastic season changes, but I am over the top obsessed with Fall now that I live in Portland. I've always been a huge fan, but now i'm a total geek. As soon as the temperature dropped a couple of weeks ago, I have relished every moment. Out came the sweaters and tights, mini pumpkins scattered around the apartment, and of course I had to go over to Trader Joe's and buy their pumpkin spice coffee blend. I know what you're thinking...basic b.
It's blissful to drive through the streets and see the explosion of orange, red, and yellow leaves in every direction. However i'm not a huge fan of the leaves covering my car every time I park, or the fact that they get so slippery on the ground that I about bust it every morning walking into work in heels. I'm sure the people outside of my building get a real chuckle out of watching all of us girls walking in stilettos on slimy leaves in the rain!
With cooler weather comes an array of rib-sticking goodness. Thomas and I have a few favorite fall recipes that we keep in constant rotation, like beef stew, lamb curry with kale and squash, short ribs with puréed parsnip and crispy mushrooms, lamb shank with root vegetables, and of course a variety of soups. There's nothing better than coming home after a long day at work when it's cold and rainy and getting something warm in your belly. Soup is perfect because most of the time it takes little effort and can be done in a snap. Adding to our repertoire is this butternut squash soup that I concocted this weekend. It's spiced with curry and cinnamon, cooked with a generous amount of shallots and garlic, simmered with coconut milk and vegetable stock, blended with sweet roasted butternut squash, and topped with a swirl of coconut cream and crispy pumpkin seeds. Perfection. You definitely need the pumpkin seeds or something crunchy to give it a little texture.
2 shallots, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 butternut squash
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 14-ounce can of light coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken broth the first time and it was very tasty)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or whatever sugar substitute you would like) if you want it less sweet skip this.
toasted pumpkin seeds (or any else crispy that you fancy)
Coconut cream (In a blender, blend 1/2 a cup of sour cream with 1/2 a can of full fat coconut milk)
What to do
-preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-cut squash down the middle and scrape out the seeds and guts. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut-side up rub a generous amount of coconut oil on the squash. Season with salt & pepper. Flip the squash over and let bake for 45 minutes or so until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.
-While the squash it cooking, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat.
-Once hot, add the shallots and let cook a couple of minutes before adding the garlic. Sauté the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add the curry powder and cinnamon to the pot and cook for about a minute until it becomes fragrant.
-Add the coconut milk, vegetable or chicken broth and maple syrup.
-Bring to a low simmer and let the flavors meld until the squash is done.
-Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a blender. Slowly add the soup to the blender and purée on high until creamy (you may have to do this in batches if you blender isn't big enough)
-return the soup back to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Adding more curry powder, salt, or sweetener as needed.
-Serve as is, or swirl the coconut cream on top and add pumpkin seeds and a dash of chili powder.
Note: this is great to store in the freezer! So double this recipe that way you can have some ready to go :)
Enjoy and happy fall everyone!