*Balls to the Wall: Meaning: intense, extreme, to the max. Although the origin of this expression is relatively benign, most people assume it is a reference to testicles (I mean, that’s fine too, if you’re into that). It’s actually from fighter planes: when accelerating quickly, the throttle is pushed all the way to the panel and the throttle lever (ball) actually touches the panel (wall). Hence, balls to the wall. 😉
Last night I made a butternut squash soup that was out of this world. The creamy texture of the butternut squash makes this soup silky smooth and feel really decadent, even though a 1-1/4 cup serving has only 182 calories (say WHAT!!!). Also this soup is vegan, gluten-free AND paleo (win all around). Pureed soups always seem a little intense to me (my general feeling is “Ain’t nobody got time for that”), but this one was really not that labor-intensive. It consists of shoving a butternut squash and baking potato into the oven, walking away for ~75 minutes, sauteeing some onion and spices and putting it into a blender, removing the stuff from the oven, and pureeing the sh*t out of it. The most difficult part is waiting for it to be ready. And, not eating all of the butternut squash before you can puree it, because gotDAMN it is good! 😀 Without further ado…
Balls-to-the-Wall Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped*
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (~ 1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 heaping Tbsp red curry paste
- 1 medium-ish butternut squash, quartered
- 3 cups veggie stock
- 1 baking potato
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 (13.5 oz) can of light coconut milk
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: lime wedges and cilantro for garnish
*I used a red onion and balled my eyes out, feel free to use whatever you have on hand if you don’t want mascara running down your face into your soup. It was intense, man!
Step One: Prep your squash. You can cut it into two and just roast the halves if you’d like, I simply quartered it because it was easier, and as I’ve mentioned before, I like to avoid chopping off any phalanges. I poked a fork into it a few times because it was making weird noises in the oven, but I don’t think that’s really necessary. You definitely need to poke your baking potato with a fork on both sides, or that little guy will explode and make a mess of your oven. Ain’t nobody got time to clean up after that.
Step Two: Bake squash and potato at 425°F for 90 minutes (Yeah, that seems like a really long time, but you want to be able to easily scoop out your squash and potato to puree it. I started the next step about 75 minutes into roasting time. It’s kind of nice to have a solid 75 minutes to do something you enjoy, like RELAX!).
Step Three: Sauté onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste in a large saucepan (There are other things I’d like to do with my time than wash dishes, so I sauteed the above ingredients directly in the pan I was going to use later to re-heat my soup after pureeing. If you want to achieve orange-y creamy butternut-y perfection, use a small skillet, otherwise you may get little flakes of whatever’s left in the saucepan in your soup. Eh, there are worse things in life, amiright?!). Cook the ingredients about 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. When it’s all cooked up, transfer to a blender.
Step Four: Blend. Once your squash is soft enough to scoop out of its rind, scoop about half of the squash and place into the blender (And/or say a prayer: it was my first time using a Vita-Mix unsupervised!). Add about half of the veggie stock, and blend until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan if it needs to be re-heated, or directly into a large bowl. Repeat for the remaining squash and the potato (removing the potato from the skin, of course).
Step Five: Combine. Once all of your butternut squash, onion mixture and potato are pureed into velvety goodness, add the coconut milk and lime juice and stir. Reheat on low, if necessary.
Step Six: Enjoy! Sprinkle with extra black pepper (it makes the flavors really pop). You can garnish with a lime wedge, and cilantro, if desired.
Choose-Your-Adventure Alternative Ending: You can make this soup using all of the same ingredients in a crock-pot (ahem, I’m sorry, “electric slow cooker”). Skip straight to Step Three, then transfer the onion mixture into a 6-quart crock-pot. Add the squash (~8 cups chopped and peeled), potato, and veggie stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 -8 hours (or until squash is tender). Then continue at Step Four. It’s always good to have options. 😉
This is a really fantastic soup. It tastes really impressive, because the flavor profile is pretty bangin’, but it is not that difficult to make. Totally worth it – I am definitely a convert to the pureed soup arena. I hope you like it as much as I did! And the best part: no balls were harmed during the making of this soup. I’m actually pretty stoked to have a bowl after my run tonight, now that it gets dark so early, it will be an extra special warm treat when I come inside!
Enjoy, enjoy! And happy HUMP DAAAAAAAAY!