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November, 2010

Crockpot Curried Butternut Squash Soup

By Cheryl Forberg

Squash are also categorized as winter squash and summer squash, based on their time of harvesting.

Butternut Squash
Summer squash are harvested when the rind is tender and edible, so they are high in water content and very low in calories. A cup of cooked summer squash has only 35 calories.

Winter squash, on the other hand, are fully mature vegetables with hard rinds and seeds. Winter squash varieties include acorn, butternut, pumpkin and spaghetti squash. Because they contain much less water, they're more nutrient dense meaning they have more calories and are much more filling (so you don't need to eat as much!). A cup of cooked winter squash contains about 90 calories. Winter squash are richly colored vegetables with high nutritional value. The colors of squash can range between cream, yellow, or orange, with some varieties having a green and white rind. There are seeds in their centers and the flesh ranges in color from white to dark yellow or orange in color. Apart from their interesting looks and great taste, they're rich in vitamins (particularly Vitamin A) and minerals.

Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin, refers to a kind of squash which is mostly available or harvested in fall and winter. It is used to prepare a wide range of dishes because of its creamy texture and mild flavor. It can be pureed and used in breads, muffins and soups as well as being a great stand-alone starch.

Butternut Squash for Baking

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

• Wash the squash thoroughly and cut it down the middle lengthwise.
• Scoop out the seeds
• Lightly brush the cut side of the squash with canola or olive oil.
• Season to taste with salt and pepper, or your favorite Melissa's My Grinders.
• Bake until tender.

To check if it is sufficiently done, pierce it with a fork.

Curried Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup
Curried Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: About 8 cups

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped (yellow or white)
1/4 cup chopped lemongrass
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger chopped
2 tsp. garam masala
8 cups peeled seeded and cubed butternut squash (About 3 1/2 pounds untrimmed)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup light coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce

Garnish:

Cilantro leaves

Instructions:

In a non stick sauté pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are just starting to lightly brown. Add lemongrass, ginger and garam masala and cook for 5 to 6 minutes longer over low heat, until veggies are softened and spices are fragrant. Transfer to crockpot. Add squash. Add chicken stock. Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low temperature and cook 3 additional hours. Puree the soup to a completely smooth texture with a hand blender or blender. Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce. Reheat until hot. Serve and garnish with cilantro if desired.