Thai Red Curry Soup with Winter Squash

I have another soup recipe for you. It’s funny, how as an adult your tastes and preferences change. As a child, I remember not loving soup. Not hating it either, but never, ever getting excited about it. Perhaps it was too many meals of grilled cheese and Campbell’s tomato soup out of a can (the thought of which still kind of makes me gag). My mother told me to plug my nose and drink up. And being a kid, I made the entire process as dramatic and awful as possible.

Times change. Now, I love soup. I love making soup. I love eating soup. I love freezing soup and re-discovering it weeks later when I’ve put off going to the grocery store and have nothing in my fridge. Or when an intense summer storm blows through and all you want is some comfort food. Or (and in this case, in addition to…) when you work in the lab until 8pm and it then takes you a better part of an hour getting home because the silly summer bus schedules. Soup saves the day.

I made this Thai-Red Curry Soup with Chicken and Winter Squash a few weeks back when I was desperate to use a kabocha squash that had been sitting in my kitchen for weeks. Throw in some ginger, a little garlic, some coconut milk and a splash of lime and you’ve got something fantastic going on. I added chicken because at the time I was craving some protein – but it certainly isn’t necessary. The Thai basil, however, is (although regular sweet basil also will do in a pinch).

Thai Red Curry Soup with Winter Squash
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced in quarter rounds
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3 pounds winter squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 quart chicken broth
One 13 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, smashed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fish sauce
Salt, to taste

1/2 cups Thai basil leaves

2 cups jasmine rice, cooked

In large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions and cook for ~5 minutes. Add ginger, jalapeno and garlic, cook for about another minute. Stir in red curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Add squash and chicken stock, and lemongrass – bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and season with salt to taste. Remove from heat, remove lemongrass and add basil leaves, letting the heat from the soup wilt them slightly. Serve with a small scoop of jasmine rice.


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