Butternut Squash Soup, Thai Style

Thai soupIt suddenly got cold in our house, our neighborhood, and in all of New England.  That always brings on a yearning for soup, hot in temperature and spicy in flavor.  This one’s special–you know you’ve scored a hit when one housemate says “this is the best treatment of butternut squash I’ve ever experienced” and another says “best soup ever.” If you don’t count the time it took to make the chicken broth or roast the butternut squash, this is about an hour’s worth of work.

Don’t worry about making the vegetables look pretty—they’re going to be puréed, so looks don’t matter.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups cooked butternut squash (Put a whole squash on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven. Cook until a fork goes in easily all over the squash and the skin feels like parchment paper. Cool and remove skin and seeds. Time to roast depends on the size of the squash—start checking it after about 30 minutes.)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk


Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery, onion, curry paste, and ginger. Cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have begun to soften and the onion turns translucent, about 8 -10 minutes.

Add the squash, thyme, broth, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Let cool slightly, then purée the soup.  I used an immersion blender, but you can use a regular blender too.  Reheat and serve.

Garnishes could include just about anything but try:

  • Coconut flakes (unsweetened) and fresh cilantro–pictured
  • Chopped apples and celery
  • Sliced toasted almonds
  • Plain yogurt or a swirl of cream
  • Chopped bell or hot peppers

This soup is even better the second or third day.  Some kind of magic happens when the flavors merge–but it’s spectacular right away, too.


Curried Corn Chowder with Mussels and Cilantro

Corn chowder

This is a show-stopper dish to serve to guests, and it takes almost no work beyond mincing the garlic and chopping the cilantro. You can vary the spice level by playing with the amount of curry paste; this version is mild and summery. The sugar is entirely optional, since the corn adds sweetness. If you use frozen corn, try to get roasted corn, which is rich and nutty. Total time from prep to bowl—about 30 minutes.


  • 6 lbs of mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 13 ½ oz. cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 Tbs. Thai red or green curry paste
  • 3 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 5 limes
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 packages frozen corn or 4 ears of corn, cooked and cut off the husk
  • 1 Tbs. sugar, optional
  • 3 cups cilantro, roughly chopped

Juice the limes, you will have about ½ cup. Bring the coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and corn to a boil in a pan large enough to hold the mussels. Cook the liquid for two to three minutes, then add the mussels, cover tightly, and steam until the mussels open, about six to eight minutes. Check frequently and stir everything up from time to time.

When the mussels open, toss into a bowl and add the cilantro. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread for sopping up the broth.

Serves 6-8