Butternut Squash and Curry Corn Chowder with Beans

Sounds gross, I know, but it is sooo good!  I know, now you’re looking at the picture below and thinking, “How on earth am I supposed to cut that thing?”  Costco has it all pre-cut and wrapped in plastic but then again, your squash will not be as fresh as it would be if you cut it yourself.

Butternut Squash — you can cook this thing!

Trust me; the Costco route was looking really good to me, until I saw this video on YouTube:

A vegetable peeler?  No way!  Way.  Amazing — it works quite nicely.  The spaghetti squash is much harder to cut than the butternut variety!  Besides, the perfect recipe for spaghetti squash has not hit me yet. These “winter” squash could not have come across my radar at a better time — advent lent starts a few days after Thanksgiving and this recipe is vegan!

What follow are the recipe, the instructions, and some helpful suggestions.  You may never buy corn chowder from anyone else again!

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups butternut squash (1 average size squash), peeled, seeded and chopped into one-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 small bag of fresh frozen corn (12 oz), defrosted
2 tsp curry powder
garlic salt and ground pepper
2 cans vegetable broth (14.5 oz)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 can white beans (16 oz), drained

Directions:

1.  Get out your 5 quart pot and heat the oil over medium heat.  You can substitute all vegetable oil if you are on a Lenten fast that restricts the intake of olive oil.  Add the squash and the onion.  Cook until the onion starts to soften (about 5 or 6 minutes) and add the corn and curry powder.

2.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I prefer Lawry’s garlic salt and cracked or large-grind pepper.  Be sure you do this now or you may end up putting just a little bit too much pepper.  You can always add more later.  If you think you smell sugar at this point, you are smelling the aroma of the cooking squash — butternut squash is apparently one of the sweeter squash.

3.  Add two cans of broth and simmer for about 25 or 30 minutes until squash is tender.  After about 20 minutes, add your can of white beans and continue cooking for the remaining five or ten minutes.

4.  Remove half of the soup from the pot and place in a blender and blend until creamy and not lumpy.  Please use caution and be careful when blending hot liquid like this.  Be sure the blender cover is on correctly and securely.  If you use the lowest setting on your blender, it will still blend!

5.  Once the soup is smooth, return it to the pot with the rest of the soup.  The beans may have melted but they have added body and bulk to the soup in the process.  If you have a passion for the feel of beans when you eat, you can start with dried white beans like Great Northern instead of the canned beans.  After recombining the soup, add the coconut milk and continue to heat but do not boil.

After the fun of dealing with these new ingredients and the peculiar preparation procedures, the photo below shows you what you get.  Yummy!

Butternut Squash and Curry Corn Chowder with Beans

This soup keeps well in the refrigerator so don’t worry if it makes you too full too fast.  It should.  You might want to try adding some whole wheat toast with margarine, instead of crackers, to eat along with your nice warm chowder.

As I mentioned above, you may never buy corn chowder again because you will know that yours is better.  There are few things that I make where I will only eat my own cooking.  While this is rare and a very small number, this recipe is trying really hard to add itself to that list!

In Honolulu you can find all of the ingredients you need for this recipe at Safeway Stores and Times Supermarkets.

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