Yay, it’s full-blown soup season! I eat soup all year round but now that Thanksgiving’s almost here, I feel better posting my soups because who doesn’t love soup when the weather gets all crisp and chilly? I know when I post soups in the summer, some people wonder what could possibly be going on in my head… This is the soup I’m going to serve for Thanksgiving. The base of it is an amazingly warming butternut squash and apple soup but it’s kicked up with fresh turmeric. Turmeric makes it so good for you and it gives it a little spice and just look at the gorgeous color! And the toppings (because you have to have toppings, right?) are shredded beets and garlicky kale… OMG, it’s so good…
This year, we are having Thanksgiving for the first time in our new apartment. I’m used to cooking in a big kitchen, so there are some challenges, but it will be so much fun. I’ve been testing out recipes that are great to make in advance because of working with less stove and oven space and this one is a big winner — you should try it too. I will make it Tuesday or Wednesday and hide it in the back of the fridge til Thursday.
I make a soup every year for Thanksgiving. I don’t serve it with the meal though. I like to keep it in a pot on the stove all day for those who get hungry before the meal. I keep the soup on the burner and the toppings next to it on the counter with a stack of bowls and people just help themselves. It works out so much better than making separate appetizers and it’s really really delicious. And, it’s really easy to hold a bowl or mug of soup (just not those shallow bowls) in your hands while you are screaming at the TV while watching football.
This year, the soup toppings will include shredded raw beets and thinly sliced warmed garlicky kale…
OK, now I have to tell you why this soup is a must; why it is SOOOOOO good for you.
Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone.
Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. When you combine turmeric with cinnamon (yup, another Chinese herb — Rou Gui) the pain relief can be amazing.
It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. So, the combination of apples and cinnamon and turmeric together are great for this time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick.
Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. My cheat for this recipe was that I bought this kale already shredded and washed at the market. If you are using a whole bunch of kale, make sure you clean the leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (me… I don’t really mind them if the kale is cooked). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.
Beets are SO good for you. I try to find ways to fit them into my meals as much as possible. Really… many times a week. Beets nourish blood and tonify the heart. Athletes are starting to drink beet juice as a form of endurance therapy. They are anti-carcinogenic, good for anemia, and relieve constipation. I also think it’s a great idea to eat them raw sometimes because their amazing goodness is even more pumped up this way.
- For soup:
- 1 Tbs ghee or grassfed butter
- 1-1/2 lb butternut squash chunks
- 1 med onion, roughly chopped
- 1-inch piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled and sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 tsp curry powder
- sea salt to taste
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 large sage leaves, chopped
- For kale:
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic gloves, sliced
- 2 cups finely shredded lacinto (black) kale leaves
- shredded raw beets (for topping)
- extra sage leaves, chopped (for topping)
- In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Add the squash, onion, cinnamon stick, apple, and curry powder. Season with salt.
- Season with salt and stir for about 5 minutes, until the veggies start to soften a bit and everything is coated well.
- Pour in the broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook about 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
- Meanwhile, make the kale: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic until it is just starting to brown (but don't burn it!).
- Add the kale to the skillet, Raise the heat to high and with your tongs, toss the kale continuously until it's all coated with the garlicky oil. Then turn off the heat. This should only take about 1 minute. Season with salt.
- When the soup is done cooking, discard the cinnamon stick and transfer the soup to a blender (my Vitamix made this soup like velvet). I did this in 2 batches so as not to overfill the blender with hot soup. Cover the blender tightly with a clean dish cloth and whiz it up until it's velvety smooth. Use a dish towel instead of the blender cover, so the steam can escape.
- Transfer the cooked soup back into the pot.
- Ladle the soup into bowls or mugs.
- Put the kale and beets in separate bowls.
- Put a big dollop of beets in the center of each bowl and sprinkle with extra sage.
- Serve the kale alongside and let people choose whether to put in in their soup or eat it on the side.