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Roasted Buttercup Squash & Chili Shrimp Soup

April 29, 2012

Good lord it felt cold over the weekend. There’s nothing that makes -2 in April feel colder than when it follows a brief taste of +20 reminding you how nice it could be come July.

Anyway, with a buttercup squash sitting on the counter demanding to be used, and a freezerful of shrimp thanks to a sale last week, soup was clearly the thing to be made.

Roasted Buttercup Squash & Chili Shrimp Soup

1 buttercup squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed (you can use other types like butternut)
olive oil, about 5 tbsp (divided)
salt and pepper
1/2 lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tsp chili powder
pinch (up to 1/4 tsp) chili flakes
large onion, chopped
large potato, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups vegetable, fish stock or chicken stock, or suitable combination thereof
1 tbsp port
heavy cream, for serving
cilantro leaves, for serving
don’t forget to grab a baguette

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash halves skin-side-down on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake about 30 mins, til just starting to brown nicely.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, chili powder, and chili flakes and cook until the shrimp is done–plump, firm and fully pink. Remove shrimp and set aside.

3. Lower heat to medium and add a couple more tbsp olive oil. Add onion and cook, working to colour but not burn, for 4-5 minutes. Add the potato, garlic, and bay leaf and continue cooking about another 4 minutes, so the onion is nicely limp and starting to brown.

4. Add the stock and thyme (and maybe some fresh ground pepper for good measure). Scoop the squash from its skin and add that as well. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the bay leaf and remove the soup from heat and allow to cool enough so you can blend the soup, either with a stand-up blender or immersion blender. Return to heat and add shrimp. Be sure to scoop in any oil that was reserved with the shrimp for extra flavour. I added some extra stock at this point to get the consistency I wanted. Add the port and stir. Serve with a blob of cream and some cilantro. A baguette would likely be appreciated at this point as well.

TIP: I had meant to try some cinnamon in this but forgot. Maybe a 1/4 teaspoon.

TIP: I mixed sour cream with a little coffee cream to use in this instead of the heavy cream.

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