You might be like me and LOVE butternut squash soup. The baseline, silky with cream French-herby sort that graces decent/decadent/expensive restaurant menus and fills you up to the brim while you sip an oaky California Chardonnay. Or maybe the chunky vegetarian variety chock full of not only squash, but also every other vegetable in the whole wide world and is best served up with a local icy-cold wheat beer. Could be the Thai version all curry-laden–both sweet and spicy, which is lovely with a Grüner Veltliner, by the way. What’s your favorite?
Below: one of mine
Today’s soup, just in time for this year’s first FRIDAY FISH, is a simple, backed-off sort of a spin on the Thai with a perky topping of quick-grilled shrimp.
Why FRIDAY FISH? Read the NPR story below to learn more. While the article focuses on Catholics as FRIDAY FISH proponents, I’m as mainline protestant as they come and I love both the Lenten practice and the tradition.
It sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown thriller: A powerful medieval pope makes a secret pact to prop up the fishing industry that ultimately alters global economics. The result: Millions of Catholics around the world end up eating fish on Fridays as part of a religious observance…NPR: “Lust, Lies and Empire: The Fishy Tale Behind Eating Fish on Friday : The Salt by Maria Godoy
ABOVE: There are a lot of shrimp recipes on More Time. Just put “shrimp” into the search box or there are 3 on one post here.
No curry here, though. Not even a pinch of turmeric. The flavors are more defined, low-key, subtler and therefore work to showcase the stunning taste of the bright orange squash itself. Softly shining supporting stars are garlic and ginger– mouth-buzzing Asian mainstays. Deep background player is the mirepoix — onion, celery, and carrot — one of the lodestars of soup making. You could squeeze in leeks and fennel if you wanted to, but I’m liking the uncomplicated cooking life that can depend on what’s usually in the crisper, on the counter, or on the shelf. (Consider this soup a pantry staple sort if you keep diced butternut squash in the freezer.) Perfect for lunch, dinner, runny noses, and maybe even timorous tummies, this soup is a meal that will sit well as a first course or an entreé. (Follow the prompts for a vegetarian or vegan version.) Hungrier? Throw in a salad or grilled baguette and great cheese. Wine, of course. I’ m thinking an Oregon Gruner Veltliner, as mentioned above, or an off-dry Washington Riesling.
You could probably make the soup on the stovetop in about the same time it takes to cook it in the Instant Pot, but why not go with the hands-off version that also stays nicely warm after it’s done–just in case one of you is late or you want to take the soup in the pot to a friend’s soup swap? And while the pot ramps up, cooks, and wanes, (Hiss…sssssssss) you’ve time to grill the shrimp, skim the New York Times, put eagle eyes on a homework paper, set the table, check in with Mom (if you’re one of my children, call me today!), pour the wine, or watch the news on PBS. A lazy cook’s version could include already-cooked shrimp from the store! The vegetarian or vegan–or anyone else, for that matter — might skip the shrimp all together, as shown in my photo just below. Convinced? Try this:
FRIDAY FISH: Instant Pot Coconut-Ginger Butternut Squash Soup with Grilled Shrimp
- Instant Pot or other Electric Pressure Cooker
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 large carrots, unpeeled, trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 2 pounds butternut squash,trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, plus more for garnish
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 13.5- ounce can lite coconut milk
- 1 pound fresh shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined–grilled (see recipe below on blog)
- ½ cup sour cream for garnish or ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
- Select SAUTÉ and adjust to LESS or LOW. Add oil, heat for 10-20 seconds, and tip in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring for a a few seconds only. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are softening. SELECT CANCEL/KEEP WARM.
- Add remainder of ingredients except coconut milk, shrimp, and garnish: butternut squash – stock.
- Close lid securely and close the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE. Select MANUAL and set for 10 minutes, pressure cooking.
- When pressure cooking is completed, let sit cooling to use NATURAL RELEASE to depressurize–may take 20 minutes or more. Press CANCEL. Open the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE and allow steam to release. Open lid.
- Purée using a hand-held immersion blender or carefully in batches in the food processor or blender (hold towel down tightly over lid). Select CANCEL/KEEP WARM. Select SAUTÉ and adjust to NORMAL. Stir in coconut milk and warm through, stirring. Taste and adjust seasonings. Select CANCEL/KEEP WARM. Serve hot garnished with a tablespoon of sour cream and fresh ground pepper or a teaspoon or so thinly sliced green onion and topped with grilled shrimp.
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (Gluten Free, if needed)
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and white pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 POUND fresh shrimp with tails-peeled and deveined
- Heat a stovetop griddle, grill or large skillet to medium-high; brush lightly with oil. Mix soy sauce, salt and white pepper, garlic, grated ginger, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss. Pour shrimp out onto griddle, grill, or into skillet. If you’d like, you can place them on skewers and grill them. Cook shrimp about 2 minutes, turn and cook another minute or until pink, just barely firm and quite tender. Do not overcook. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm until needed.
Stuff to Read:
Health Benefits of Butternut Squash from webmd.com
Going Vegan for Lent… from CHRISTIANITY TODAY
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT LIKE ONE OF MY OTHER BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUPS or a FRIDAY FISH ROUND UP…
I’ll be traveling for a few weeks of Lent, but will be posting FRIDAY FISH each week before that. Once I’m off, I’ll leave you with some happy, fishy recipes from other years!
Cook some fish tonight,