Thursday, November 19, 2009

Butternut Squash and Kidney Bean Soup

Since I turned vegetarian a year back, I had much difficulty adjusting my diet to ensure that I got enough iron and protein which I earlier received from fish, poultry, meat and eggs from non animal sources. Though I am not vegan, I am lactose intolerant to some extent. I can eat yogurt and certain types of ripened cheese but no milk, butter and the likes. Hence it became doubly difficult to consume the suggested daily iron intake. Inevitably, I who always had above normal hemoglobin percentage was diagnosed with anemia eight months into my restricted diet.
I was asked to consume large amounts of spinach, tofu and dried beans every day. After a month of Indian daals, spinach soup and tofu salad, I had to find innovate new ways to cook these for my food lust. A friend sent me to 101 cookbooks and among scores of nutritious veggie recipes; I found adzuki butternut squash soup.
I didn’t know what adzuki was nor did I want to go to the store to buy a new kind of bean when I already had enough jars of them to last me a year. Thus I did what I have learnt to do well. I substituted adzuki with regular kidney beans or rajma. The butternut squash, kidney beans and cinnamon blend for a robust and very holiday-ey flavor.
After the initial attempt which we both liked, I added to and subtracted from the original recipe to create a soup that can give chicken noodle soup tough competition in the comfort food category even for meat loving N. On a cold fall evening, this soup will warm your body and soul.
Taking another giant step in the world of cookery bloggery, this soup is going to Susan's MLA-17, hosted by Sra of When My Soup Came Alive.

Butternut Squash and Kidney Bean Soup
Butternut squash - 2 cups, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about half a normal size squash)
Kidney beans - 2 cups, canned or cooked
Red onions - 1 medium, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1 finely chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
Dried red chili - 3, crushed
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp, coarsely crushed
Cinnamon - 1tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp (I use canola)
Salt - 1 tsp (fine grain sea salt is recommended but if you don't have it use regular table salt)
Water - 3 cups
For Garnish:
Smoked paprika/ roasted chili flakes - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Roasted almond slivers - 1tbsp
Goat cheese - 1 tbsp, crumbled

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon, coriander seeds, chilies and salt and saute until aromatic.
  • Add onions and saute to golden.
  • Add garlic, tomatoes and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 3 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, until the squash begins to soften about 8-10 minutes.
  • Once the squash has softened, mash the squash pieces a bit with either a masher or the back of a ladle.
  • Add the beans and cook a couple more minutes. Check for salt and add more if needed. Remove from heat.
  • Serve garnished with smoked paprika, roasted almonds and crumbled goat cheese. Of course, I give the cheese a miss but N says it goes very well with the sweetness of the soup.
Serves - 4
Suggestion: Everybody, including trained chefs have a tough time peeling hard skinned squashes. If you find peeling the squash extremely difficult and frustrating, bring a large pot of water to boil. The pot should be large enough to hold a whole squash without water flowing over. Submerge the squash in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the skin and the meat just beneath the skin will get cooked making it easier to cut and peel the skin off.


sra said...

That looks beautiful! Love the addition of goat cheese and almonds!

The "Rambler" & The "Reluctant Cook" said...

Thank you :)

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