This summer, feeling stifled by the city heat and eager to get on with summer and into autumn, I wrote about the Danish concept of hygge, or cozy living. I wanted to use the concept, though it’s most associated with winter (curling up by the fireplace under a soft blanket . . . the fireplace aspect of this vision right now falls firmly in the “must-be-nice” category, but I digress), to focus on the things, like seasonal summer foods, that make the hotter months enjoyable. That went pretty well, but now here we are back in actual winter, and I’ve realized two things. 1) Hygge is VERY trendy; books and articles on the concept are being published right and left and 2) Eating soup is the best in January. While you have this soup simmering on the stove, you can read this, this, and this article on hygge and be excited about the many remaining winter months you have to put the concept into practice.
Coconut Curry Squash Soup with Basil & Chili Oil
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil, like almond or avocado
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large butternut squash, 2.5 to 3 lbs, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 14.5 oz can coconut milk
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp fish sauce (or more to taste)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp lime juice (to taste)
- a few slivered basil leaves, to serve
- steamed jasmine or sticky rice, to serve
- chili oil, to serve
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil, then add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Add the coconut milk and the broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until squash is very soft, about 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth. [If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree the soup in batches in a regular blender, being careful not to fill the blender too full and making sure to hold the lid on the blender so hot soup doesn’t explode onto you.]
- Mix in the curry paste and then add fish sauce and lime juice, a little at a time, to taste (you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!). To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add a spoonful of steamed rice, sprinkle with slivered basil leaves, and drizzle with chili oil.